The National Trust has released a plan to generate 50% of their power from renewable sources by 2020. The trust plans to integrate modern renewable energy generation into their traditional landscapes. Although they currently have over 150 renewable schemes in action, the new plan aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels in many of its properties.
By 2020, the renewables used will include 27% hydro power and 21% biomass, which will further be enhanced by 1% heat pumps and 0.5% solar power. Currently, the major carbon source and cost for the trust is oil, which will be reduced to just 3%, as well as plans to cut overall energy consumption by 20%.
In addition to helping in the bid towards a low-carbon economy, the move to renewables will save the National Trust money, forecasting a return on capital of 10%.
However, the new plans have not been met with an entirely positive attitude. Wind power is considered as the renewable source with the most potential and the trust has been criticised in the past for its chairman’s campaign against turbines. Simon Jenkins has fuelled opposition to wind energy with his influential newspaper columns, although the trust is keen to state that it is not anti-wind, but simply anti-wind in the wrong place.
Despite only generating a fraction of the UK’s renewable energy, the efforts of the National Trust have been applauded as they are acting as a true example for other organisations.