National Trust reaches energy milestone

Solar panels at Carrick-a-rede
Solar panels at Carrick-a-rede

Six years ago the National Trust set a target of generating 50% of their energy demand from renewable energy by 2020.

A huge milestone has now been reached with over a million units (1,183,777 kilowatt hours) of renewable energy produced by National Trust places in Northern Ireland last year.

This equates to 22% of the charity’s annual energy demand making Northern Ireland the second highest performing National Trust region (after Wales) for renewable energy generation.

Commenting on reaching this significant milestone Kate Noble, National Trust Environmental Practices Advisor, said: “Since 2009 we have invested in various renewable technologies including ten biomass boilers, three heat pump installations and two solar electric (photovoltaic) systems. This has contributed to the generation of 4,500,000 kilowatt hours in the last six years.

“Not only are these technologies helping us to reduce our reliance on polluting fossil fuels but they also mean that we are saving money on fuel costs, allowing us to spend more on vital conservation work at our special places.

“We are almost half way towards meeting our target and with another four biomass installations planned for the next two years we should be well on our way towards our 50% goal.”

The National Trust is investing £30 million across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in renewable energy to heat and power more of the historic places they look after.

As part of this investment three biomass boilers are planned for Castle Ward, Rowallane Garden and the Causeway Hotel.

Alongside the installation of renewable heating systems the charity is also looking at the potential for medium scale electricity generation to supply not just their own needs but also for export.