Growing our own green energy

Checking the biomass bioiler at Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Our target is to generate 50 per cent of all energy we use from renewable sources by 2020.

We spend nearly £6m a year on heating and powering all our places including historic houses, offices, visitor centres and holiday cottages. Our forecasts predict that rising energy prices will significantly increase our bills by 2020.

Decreasing our use of fossil fuels improves our energy security and sustainability and reduces our environmental impact as well as reducing costs. We need to continue reducing how much energy we use while increasing the amount we generate from the abundant natural assets on our land.

Our work so far

In 2010 we published our Grow Your Own report setting out our target to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by 2020. Since then we’ve been working hard to improve energy efficiency across our places. We’re in the process of installing appropriate renewable technology, at the right scale and location, on our land.

In 2013 our renewable energy investment programme set out to pilot five large-scale, property-based renewable energy installations. These projects were:

  • marine source heat pump at Plas Newydd
  • biomass boiler at Ickworth
  • hydro at Stickle Ghyll
  • hydro at Hafod y Porth
  • biomass boiler at Croft Castle

The projects are now complete and we’ve been successful in decommissioning oil tanks, lowering our energy costs and using sustainable wood fuel from our estates to heat our places whilst also reducing carbon emissions. All this has been achieved with a light touch and with an aim to enhance rather than compromise sensitive buildings, settings and landscapes.

We’re investing £30 million in more than 40 further projects to help us reach our target of producing 50 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources. So far we’ve installed biomass boilers at some of our special places such as Upton House and Saltram House and solar photovoltaic panels at our visitor centre buildings at Sutton Hoo. There are many more projects we are working on to help us meet our ambitious energy targets.

A responsible energy approach

‘In setting out our 10 year plan we recognised we have to play our part in helping to mitigate climate change. A key part of that is to reduce our reliance on oil and look for greener energy solutions,’ said Patrick Begg, our rural enterprises director.

‘We have a responsibility to look after the special places in our care, so our decisions need to be long term and help us leave a legacy that future generations will appreciate.

‘By cutting our energy consumption and growing our own energy, locally, from renewable sources we’ll have more money to spend on the places we look after, and a more sustainable and resilient operation.

'Growing our own will also give us greater energy security in a very uncertain and volatile world, where global energy supplies and prices are increasingly difficult to predict or secure.’