UK's most sustainable pub gets hydro-power green light

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 09 Dec 2013 15:05, Last updated: 2013-12-09
Water from nearby fells to power the Sticklebarn pub

Planners have given approval to allow the UK's most sustainable pub to generate energy from its own hydro-power plant.

The National Trust's Sticklebarn pub, near Ambleside in the Lake District, will install a 100kW generator that will be powered by the flow of nearly 200 litres of water a second from a nearby stream.

Once installed, the pub's hydro-power unit will have the capacity to produce 350,000kW of renewable electricity a year – enough to power the equivalent of more than 80 homes.

The pub, which produces its own vodka and gin, already serves food grown and reared by neighbouring tenant farmers, with all profits going back into protecting the local landscape.

The £650,000 scheme is one of three key National Trust projects that are included in a pilot phase of its proposed major renewables investment programme.

As well as work beginning at Sticklebarn, a project to build one of the UK’s first marine source heat pumps has also been given the go ahead at Plas Newydd, Anglesey, along with a hydro-electric scheme at Craflwyn near Beddgelert, Snowdonia.

The move marks a significant shift forwards in the Trust’s renewable energy investment programme, which was launched by the charity in conjunction with the renewable electricity supplier, Good Energy, in April this year.

The Trust has pledged to invest nearly £3.5 million in five pilot projects, including hydro, biomass and heat pumps, during 2013/14. If the pilot is deemed successful, the Trust expects to spend ten times that sum in a programme that will see it generate 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources and halve its fossil fuel consumption by 2020.

Patrick Begg, National Trust Rural Enterprises Director, said: “We’ve been working closely with our specialist conservation advisers to ensure these developments are at the right scale and location and work totally in tune with their historic and natural setting – and it seems the planning officers agree.”

“We care deeply about the beautiful places we look after and want them to stay that way forever. The renewable schemes we are building will help wean us off oil and reduce our energy costs by more than £4 million a year.”

The three pilot projects that have gained planning permission so far are:

• Plas Newydd – 300kW marine source heat pump, providing 100 per cent of the property’s heat requirements. This property is one of the Trust’s biggest oil users

• Stickle Ghyll – 100kW hydro-electric project which will supply electricity to the National Trust’s Sticklebarn pub.

• Craflwyn –100kW hydro-generation, which will be sold back to the grid

The National Trust’s four million members are able to support the programme by signing up for renewable electricity with the charity’s energy partner, Good Energy. The company will pay the Trust up to £40 per year for each new customer signing up to its dual fuel tariff via the National Trust.

Good Energy is also helping the Trust develop its renewable strategy, using its expertise in generating power from natural sources and its experience of supporting more than 55,000 small and medium sized renewable energy generators in the UK.

Juliet Davenport, Founder and CEO of Good Energy said: “These ground-breaking pilot projects show energy can be generated in even the most sensitive locations if the right technology is used. They are great examples of harnessing the power of nature to generate both heat and electricity and we are very pleased to support them.”

The National Trust has been making steady progress pioneering the use of renewable technologies across the places it looks after.

Over the last decade around 250 schemes have been installed across a wide range of technologies: wood (biomass), solar electricity and hot water, small-scale wind, hydro-electric, and heat pumps.

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