National Trust to generate 50% renewable energy by 2020

The National Trust announced today that it will invest nearly £3.5m over the next two years to provide renewable energy to 43 of its historic properties.

The investment will be used to set up five pilot projects in 2013 and 2014, including hydro, biomass and heat pumps. According to the Trust if the projects are successful it will aim to spend “ten times that sum” in a programme that will see it generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources and halve its fossil fuel consumption by 2020.

This will enable it to reduce its energy costs by more than £4m per annum, which it claims will allow it to invest more money into the charity’s conservation work.

Rural Enterprises director at National Trust, Patrick Begg, said: “Through our work we show that renewable technologies can be made to work in some of the country’s most sensitive landscapes and historic environments.”

The National Trust spends nearly £6m a year to heat and power its estate, which amounts to 300 major historic houses, plus office buildings, visitor centres and 360 holiday cottages. It also predicts that if it does not take action now, rising oil and gas prices would increase its bill to £7.5m by 2020.

“Like householders everywhere we are facing rising energy bills. We spend more than £6m each year heating and powering the places in our care,” said Begg.

“By investing in renewable energy production we can reduce our energy bills and invest more in vital conservation work around the country. It will put renewable energy at the heart of conservation.”

Leigh Stringer

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