National Trust launches hydro turbine in Wales

Small-scale community renewable energy projects in Scotland are under threat from proposals to slice subsidies.
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National Trust will today launch it latest renewable project in Snowdonia, Wales.

The company believes the hydro turbine’s unveiling at Hafod y Porth in the north of the country will overcome the challenges of building renewables in extreme weather-prone locations.

Keith Jones, National Trust environmental practices advisor, 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.”

The venture also marks the completion of its £3.5million Renewable Energy Investment (REI) programme which was developed with renewable electricity supplier Good Energy. This scheme has a capacity of just under 100kW, with an anticipated payback of around six years. The cleaner electricity generated from it will be sold to Good Energy.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, said: “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.”

Other pilot projects in the Trust’s REI programme include a 300kW marine source heat pump at Plas Newydd on Anglesey and a 199kW biomass boiler at Croft Castle in Herefordshire.

The two remaining schemes, a 100kW hydro turbine at Sticklebarn Tavern in Great Langdale and a 199kW biomass boiler at Ickworth in Suffolk, will be launched early next year. If these are successful, the Trust is expected invest in a further 43 renewable energy projects, which will help the charity meet its targets to halve fossil fuel use and generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

A decision on whether to expand the REI programme will be made in Spring 2015.