Launching our Renewable Energy Investment Programme
In 2012 we launched our Renewable Energy Investment Programme; an ambitious plan to provide clean energy to 43 of our historic properties.We invested an initial £3.5 million in five pilot projects, including hydro, biomass and heat pumps. After the launch of the pilots, we expected to spend ten times that sum in a programme that would see us generate 50 per cent of our energy from renewable sources and halve our fossil fuel consumption by 2020. This will enable us to reduce our energy costs by more than £4 million per annum, releasing more money for our conservation work.
Going green and cutting costs
Our rural enterprises director, Patrick Begg, said: 'Like householders everywhere, we are facing rising energy bills. We spend more than £6 million each year heating and powering the places in our care. By investing in renewable energy production we can reduce our energy bills and invest more in vital conservation work around the country. Through our work we can also show that renewable technologies can be made to work in some of the country’s most sensitive landscapes and historic environments.'
Our 4 million members were also be able to support the programme by signing up for renewable power with former energy partner, Good Energy. The company paid us £40 per year for each new customer signing up to its dual fuel tariff via the National Trust.
If 5 per cent of our members’ households adopted the tariff it would raise £3.8 million for investment in a low carbon future and see 95,000 households powered by clean, green renewably sourced electricity.
Our five pilot projects trialled a multi-site approach and proved business models:
- Plas Newydd – 300kW marine source heat pump, providing 100% of property’s heat requirements
- Croft Castle – 199kW biomass boiler, supplying 74% of property’s heating needs
- Ickworth – 199kW biomass boiler, supplying 100% of estate’s heating needs
- Hafod y Porth near Craflwyn – 99kW hydro-generation, which will be sold back to the grid
- Stickle Ghyll – 99kW hydro-electric project providing 30% of property’s energy needs
Patrick Begg continued: 'Projects must offer strong financial returns, build energy independence and energy security, but also respect properties’ settings and historical significance, and improve conservation, wherever possible.’
Making a good start
We made steady progress pioneering the use of renewable technologies across the places we look after. Over the last decade more than 250 small and medium scale renewable schemes have been installed across a wide range of technologies: wood (biomass), solar electricity and hot water, small-scale wind, hydro-electric, and heat pumps.
Following the development of these projects, there's now widespread recognition of the value and impact which well-built renewables initiatives can bring to local National Trust businesses. This investment programme is part of a move to invest beyond small impact renewables towards larger-scale initiatives, which can make a greater contribution towards meeting local and national goals, as well as generating income for us.