We have committed to generating 50 per cent of all the energy we use from renewable sources by 2020. This is being driven by our £30 million Renewable Energy Investment Programme (REIP), launched last year.
The good news is that we’re already making inroads into achieving this challenging target with over 30 renewable projects currently in the planning stage or under construction.
Through the REIP the Trust is using cutting edge renewable technology to help address the impacts fossil fuels are having on our climate. Not only are we getting our properties off oil and gas, we’re also reducing energy bills and providing additional benefits to the natural environment too.
Some projects at inspirational properties such as Calke Abbey in the Derbyshire countryside and Croft Castle in the Herefordshire hills paved the way for this exciting phase of our renewable investment.
The estate buildings at Calke Abbey were dependent on electricity and two gas tanks which had become inefficient, in constant need of servicing, and were no longer cost effective.
The installation of a wood chip boiler in a new ‘energy centre’ reduced the property’s dependence on both fossil fuels and the National Grid. This new biomass system now serves all the visitor facilities, learning and activity rooms and riding school. This area became heated for the first time, meaning the property can offer the space commercially for a wide range of events.
All wood chip supplied is from National Forest-managed woodland and plantations but the long term plan is for the boilers to be fuelled by timber from the Calke Estate.
Croft Castle was one of five pilot projects, developed with our partner Good Energy, which paved the way for our REIP.
This biomass project is already self-sustaining, using wood supplied from the estate. Conifer trees had overrun certain areas, impacting on the ancient woodland and species – not to mention the views. By using the trees for fuel, instead of buying oil, we are opening up space for the ancient broadleaf woodland, dating back to the 1600’s, and wildlife to thrive. It has also helped with flood management on the estate.
Oil powering the old boilers came from far away but now we harvest our energy locally. Jobs have been created in Herefordshire and woodchip suppliers are investing in new equipment as the industry becomes more financially sustainable.
We’re showing the love for our special places by playing our part in protecting them for generations to come. For more information visit the Climate Coalition’s website and Show The Love for our natural world: http://fortheloveof.org.uk/