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The National Trust has the ambitious target of getting 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. As part of this plan, the 18th century Quarry Bank Mill, which sits on the River Bollin in Cheshire, will start generating renewable electricity this week.
As our infographic, the evolution of energy sources shows, water has been used as a source of energy for hundreds of years. At Quarry Bank Mill a massive water wheel once powered banks of looms in the factory. Building on the achievement of Samuel Greg, who founded the mill in 1784, and working with renewable energy supplier Good Energy, a turbine has been installed to generate hydroelectric power that will supply over 55% of the electricity required by Quarry Bank.
But the mill isn’t the only beneficiary of this new hydroelectric scheme. The Environment Agency has built a fish and eel pass that will enable fish to migrate upstream. This hasn’t been possible for more than 200 years because the weir blocked their passage.
The Trust’s Renewable Energy Investment Programme aims to reduce energy consumption in the National Trust by 20 per cent and cut its use of fossil fuels by 50% by 2020. This will help to lower its energy costs and means more money to spend on conservation projects across the country.
Rural enterprises director at the National Trust Patrick Begg said: “This is a transformative scheme. I couldn’t be more delighted that Quarry Bank, with its history of harnessing the energy of natural resources, has taken such a strong lead in converting to clean energy.”
He added: “It’s clear to us that we need to make big changes so that we can continue to protect our treasured places and tackle the impacts of climate change. This successful scheme marks a major step forward in our clean energy journey.”
The National Trust has so far developed approximately 250 small and medium renewable energy schemes. Currently the organisation gets 12% of its energy from renewable sources such as hydroelectric schemes, biomass boilers and marine source heat pumps.
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Image courtesy of National Trust Images & Andrew Butler
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