National Trust commit £30m investment into renewable energy projects. My perspective. Culture shift not just tech’

The prefab weir bedding in nicely into its environmental. few more months and it will disappear into the background

The prefab weir bedding in nicely into its environmental. few more months and it will disappear into the background

The National Trust stated that it was serious about renewables and yesterday it declared to the world and their dog that it was going into its pocket in a big way to demonstrate this commitment. It is not small beer for a charity which is set up to conserve ‘for ever for everyone’ to dig deep and put its money where its mouth is.(metaphor mixing again) From a National Trust Wales point of view this is also the natural next step after 8 years of development work. As you might have read in the preceding 600 or so blogs we have been piloting, testing, evaluating and generally having a go in order to be an ‘informed client’ as we call it. It has not been a mater of dashing for the first tech’ which we happened to like but an incremental increase in our knowledge and experience to a place where the NT Trustees who after all are the conscience of the membership are happy for this next and huge step to take place. The renewables are a means to deliver more conservation but also do the right thing! Any income or savings are channelled back into our core purpose of conserving special places.

The development of hydros, biomass tech, PV installations and so on has been good but actually the most important change has been the development of the team and culture across the NT. I’m not talking about the small team of dedicated and highly skilled project managers we now have in place but in fact the people at the properties and  business support team who make this sort of thing happen. The ‘normalisation’ of renewables has been dramatic. It now a mater of when and where at many properties not a mater of ‘persuade me’ to go into renewables. These people after all have to manage some of this tech for the next 100 years or so (not the same people by the way!) ‘After all a hydro is for life and not just for FIT!’ Renewable energy is both frustrating as it is rewarding. Is your organisation doing its bit?

  • Energy Highlight to date? NT developing a candle LED bulb (ps it take 16 people to change a bulb in the NT)
  • Low point? Some of the statutory processes to get this stuff to happen
  • Funny Point – Falling into a large Scottish river when showing how brilliant hydros were
  • Lesson Learnt – Don’t give up!
  • Rewarding moment – sharing our lessons with others e.g. with Community Energy groups and the Fit for the Future network
  • Proud Moment – wining the Ashden Gold Award

…and next? Paul has started the feasibility on a new heating system for the biggest of them all in NT Wales. Penrhyn Castle. The 100kw Berthen Hydro in Snowdonia has started to be built! Onwards and upwards! I’m now off up Snowdon with our NT colleagues from the Lake District to share some more lessons… and I can see soooo much hydro fuel falling out of the air this morning. Wonder why we are investing into hydros?

Good communication, Good partnership = good projects

Good communication, Good partnership = good projects

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