Power pioneers

Solar panels at Powis Castle
Published : 30 Oct 2015 Last update : 02 Nov 2015

The National Trust Wales energy team is up for four major awards at the Wales Green Energy Awards in Cardiff on 6 November – including outstanding advocate and outstanding renewable energy project.

The awards, now in their third year, are organised by RenewableUK Cymru and celebrate the success and achievements of the green energy industry in Wales.

Our team has also been shortlisted for its hydro work in Snowdonia and the ‘renewable energy farm’ at Hafod y Llan farm near Beddgelert.

Leading the way

As well as developing our own projects on our properties and land, the Renewable Energy Team also supports many organisations through mentoring, peer reviewing and general advice. It works closely with the Welsh and UK governments to share information and learning from its projects – this has resulted in some of its Welsh projects becoming the test bed for technologies for DECC.

The team is seen as leading the way in renewable energy at the National Trust and is often called upon to advise on other renewable energy projects across the UK.

Hydro pioneers

One of the flagship projects, Hafod y Lan on the southern flanks of Snowdon’s summit, represents a key hub for our renewable energy development, testing and showing. It includes a 664 kW hydro scheme, ground source heat pump heating the 17th century cottage, a biomass system in listed buildings, an anaerobic digestion / biomass production plant and wood pellet range cookers.

The site was even the test ground for the trial of a prototype electric Land Rover, powered by the fuel grown there. The next year will see further development, including energy storage, a further three hydro schemes, energy optimisation and a micro smart grid.

The team is also being lined up for prestigious national awards in 2016 and another one of its pioneering projects could mean that flicking a switch in your own home could help fund community initiatives and protect more of Wales’s special places in future.

People power

A trial with Open Utility and Good Energy using a pioneering system called Piclo aims to see if it is possible for local energy producers to bypass the Bix Six power companies and provide electricity direct to customers.

The trial wants to pave the way for income from local energy schemes to stay within the community, ease rural fuel poverty and allow consumers to choose an energy provider based on their methods of power generation and what local benefits it could bring.

" It seems ludicrous that local energy producers can be selling electricity to one of the big power companies for 5.5p and just yards away householders are paying 12p to 15 for their electricity"
- Keith Jones, Wales Environmental Practices Advisor

As a charity dedicated to looking after special places for ever for everyone we aim the maximum amount of our resources we can to our conservation work.

Cut our energy bill in half

Over the past five years in Wales our ground-breaking work has cut our energy bill in half and now provides 40% of energy needs through a build-up of small-scale renewable energy schemes.
And, if the pioneering Piclo system is successful then this will allow us to provide more income to spend on key conservation areas, such as Snowdonia, and provide local communities with cheaper energy.