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Tue April 20 2021

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National Trust launches £30m renewable energy drive

7 Jul 15 The National Trust has announced its biggest-ever investment in renewable energy to provide heat and power for more of its historic places.

A new biomass boiler came into use yesterday at Ickworth (photo: National Trust/Arnhel De Serra)
A new biomass boiler came into use yesterday at Ickworth (photo: National Trust/Arnhel De Serra)

The announcement of £30m investment follows the successful completion of five renewable energy projects at National Trust properties - part of a £3.5m pilot launched with Good Energy in 2013.

The investment is towards National Trust’s target of of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, cutting energy usage by 20% and sourcing 50% from renewable sources on its land by 2020.

The Trust’s renewable energy programme could also help save up to £4m on its energy costs each year. Electricity generated from some of the projects will be sold to the grid providing the charity with a source of income.

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The National Trust is investing in more than 40 further projects which include:

  • a 200kW lake source heating project at Blickling Estate in Norfolk, which will remove two oil tanks and 25,572 litres per annum of oil consumption with an estimated saving of 68 tonnes of CO2 per year;
  • two biomass boilers at Upton House in Warwickshire to heat the mansion and other areas saving an estimated 55 tonnes of CO2 per year;
  • a 250kW hydro scheme at Hayeswater in Cumbria.

The new projects follow the completion of the five pilots which include a biomass boiler at Ickworth in Suffolk, which was formally switched on yesterday. Ickworth’s new boiler has replaced a 5,000 litre oil tank – removing the risk of contamination from oil leaks. Wood fuel is sourced directly from the estate. The new woodland being planted to secure future fuel is also reinstating lost design features from the Grade II listed park and gardens. The more actively managed woodlands will also create better, bigger habitats and improve nature conservation.

Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director at the National Trust said: “Many of the properties in our care are energy intensive and in remote areas without access to mains gas. Installing renewable technology in these places is a huge challenge. For instance we found that connecting hydros to the grid is more complicated than we expected. We have learnt a great deal and we will continue to do so.

“The success we have seen in decommissioning oil tanks, lowering our energy costs and reducing carbon emissions has shown us that renewables play a vital part in us reaching our 2020 energy targets and in delivering more for our core conservation mission.”

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