Hydropower keeps National Trust on track to meet renewable energy goals
The National Trust has switched on a 100kW capacity hydro turbine in Snowdonia as part of the £3.5m pilot phase of its Renewable Energy Investment project.
The £550,000 turbine, situated at Hafod y Porth, will generate electricity which will be sold to Good Energy through the National Trust’s trading company – National Trust Renewable Energy Ltd.
The money raised will fund conservation projects in Snowdonia. It is one of 43 new renewable energy projects that will help the National Trust meet its targets of halving fossil fuel use and generating 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The new turbine was manufactured off-site before being transferred and assembled at Hafod y Porth, giving the team a greater level of control over the installation.
The National Trust’s environmental practices advisor Keith Jones said: “We do get a lot of unpredictably wet weather in Snowdonia. This can be great when the hydro is in, but it’s not ideal for construction – a couple of flash floods can wash away days of hard work. By pre-fabricating components off site we’re removing a lot of these risks, reducing our carbon footprint and driving down our overall costs.”
Good Energy founder and chief executive Juliet Davenport said: “Our vision is to help create a safer, greener Britain. Good Energy is proud to be buying electricity generated at National Trust sites like this. This hydro investment of £550,000, which will be paid back over the next six years, is a fantastic example of the technological innovation in renewables.”
The team developing the turbine are working with researchers from the Hydro-BPT project at Bangor University to calculate the carbon footprint of the installation and expect it to balance its energy investment in less than a year of being in operation.
Other pilot projects in the National Trust’s Renewable Energy Investment programme to have been completed are a 300kW marine source heat pump opened in May at Plas Newydd on Anglesey and a 199kW biomass boiler at Croft Castle in Herefordshire. In July, the National Trust installed an Archimedes screw to provide hydropower to Cragside in Northumberland.
The remaining two schemes to be launched early next year are a 100kW hydro turbine at Sticklebarn Tavern in Great Langdale and a 199kW biomass boiler at Ickworth in Suffolk.
Earlier this month, the charity also announced a long-term partnership with electronics firm Panasonic which will help reduce its energy consumption by 20% and halve its fossil fuel use.