World Tour of Scotland pt2. Fit for the future Network. Renewable energy sharing. Iconic art and engineering as economic drivers

The Kelipes. or water spirits marking the new leg to the canal. the new Helix park where they are situated was busy. the new visitor centre is being built. I wonder if they could heat it from the canal ala Plas Newydd system. We were there to share... and learn

The kelpies or water spirits mark the new leg to the canal. The new 300Ha Helix Park where they are situated was  very busy. The new visitor centre is being built. I wonder if they could heat it from the canal ala Plas Newydd system. We were there to share… and learn

Paul and myself are now back home having spent two amazing days in Scotland as part of the Fit for the Future Network which the National Trust Wales in combination with Ashden set up. Yesterday and it was the Falkirk area thanks to the Scottish Canals. Our HQ for the day was the world-famous Falkirk Wheel and the afternoon consisted of a visit to the soon to be world-famous Kelpies at Helix Park. The use of iconic huge pieces of engineering and art as economic drivers for the Falkirk area is inspired. Falkirk area reminds me of many post industrial areas in Wales. The visitor numbers, the spin offs,  local confidence, pride to develop other aspects was plain to see

Our base for the day. The 36m boat lifting Falkirk wheel...and yes we had a go! we had a lot to share but i personally learnt a lot from the vision and drive of Scottish canals. Think big if the problems/ opportunities are big!

Our base for the day. The 36m tall boat lifting Falkirk wheel…and yes we had a go! We had a lot to share but i personally learnt a lot from the vision and drive of Scottish Canals. Think big if the problems/ opportunities are big!

We were there to join many Scottish community, government and NGO groups to share, learn and network. This we did in a big way. The main theme of the day was how to bring people (senior managers, community members, partners) along on the energy journey?There was a lot of interest in the detail side of the marine source heat pump. I have a feeling that a few more will be emerging soon.

Thank you so much to Scottish Canals and National Trust for Scotland for being gracious and hospitable hosts and also for sharing their stunning work.

the meeting for the network was buzzing with ideas, sharing and partnership forming! PS having the worlds only rotating boat lift out of the meeting room window added to the bay!

The meeting for the network was buzzing with ideas, sharing and partnership forming! PS having the worlds only rotating boat lift out of the meeting room window added to the day!

the ballroom celing and wall decorations at Mar Lodge yesterday still sticks in my memory. Stunning two days toi get to you primed to get back and do more... much, much more!

The ballroom ceiling and wall decorations at NTS Mar Lodge yesterday still sticks in my memory. (for some strange reason!!) Stunning two days to get to you primed to get back and do more… much, much more!

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Fit for the future world tour of Scotland pt1. Mar Lodge and National Trust for Scotland

one of the most unusal rooms i have ever been in. the red deer skull bedect Ballroom building at Mar lodge

one of the most unusual rooms i have ever been in. the red deer skull be-decked Ballroom building at Mar lodge

I hear its raining back home in Wales! Paul, Chloe and myself are up in sunny Scotland for a couple of days as part of the latest development in the Fit for the future network development. Learning, sharing and where we can, helping. This time we are North of the border. Today it was the 70,000 acre Mar Lodge Estate managed by the National Trust for Scotland. I have been reading about this stunning wild life haven for the last 20 years and today I have seen a small part of it myself. The reason for the visit was to see the new 666kw wood chip biomass system currently being installed. The twin Froling system is being designed to use the wood-chip produced as a byproduct of the 20 year woodland management plan on the estate. I have to confess Paul and myself did have a bit of ‘shed envy’ once we saw where this heating beast will reside. A massive purpose-built shed. But you must also remember that this is also THE of the coldest place in the UK, snow on the ground longer than most and they also suffer from something i have not come across before which is slow melting snow on the drying woodpiles in spring re-wets the timber destined for the biomass. The lodge and associated buildings use a colossal 1.4m Gwh of heat pa. All of which will be on a new 500m heat main for the new shed. Tomorrow and its down to Falkirk… more on this later!

the imposing Bray Mar Lodge. soon to be biomass heated

The imposing Mar Lodge. soon to be biomass heated

the biomass building. purpose built. #envy

The biomass building. purpose-built. #envy

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More site visits with Fit for the Future Network

Lyme Park

Lyme Park

I spent yesterday on a site visit to Lyme Park with Fit for the Future Network members the Devonshire Group and Pierrepoint Estates. Bolton Abbey and Chatsworth House are both part of the Devonshire Group and are looking into installing 350kW and 400kW biomass boilers on both estates, so got in touch with me to see if I could set up a site visit.

Phil shows F4F Network members the biomass

Phil shows Harvey, Roy, Adam and Mark the biomass

Knowing Adam’s experience with managing both pellet and wood-chip boilers at Pierrepoint Estates, and their desire to install yet more (the estate includes large swathes of Sherwood Forest so biomass is a no-brainer for them),  I thought it was a great opportunity for him to come along too, both to share his experiences of installing biomass with the Devonshire lot, but also to learn from our experiences at Lyme Park.

Ash from the biomass is then used in the gardens.

Ash from the biomass is used as a fertilizer in the grounds of Lyme Park

As the Lyme Park biomass is pellet boiler, quite a lot of the conversation centred around the pro’s and con’s of wood chip and pellet – for instance the satisfaction of a closed loop economy (assuming you can produce your chip on site) in relation to storage issues and lower calorific value. As well as that, access points, ongoing maintenance costs, RHI and small-print in the contracts were things discussed.

What I found interesting though was that it took just one minor comment from Phil Stokes (the Building Surveyor who manages the biomass at Lyme Park) about warranties for the value of a site-visit to really be illustrated. The ‘lessons learnt’ comment that was just mentioned in passing from someone who has been through the process (which everyone eagerly scribbled down) will probably save Bolton Abbey and Chatsworth House £1000’s when they come to install their boilers! Just goes to show, getting people in a room together and simply talking really works.

Many thanks to Phil for taking the time to show us round.

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Community hydro sharing again and the Hafod y Llan hydro is disappearing into the mountain

It was a lovely if dark evening to be introducing people to your hydro...but beats sitting in front of the telly

It was a lovely if dark evening to be introducing people to your hydro…but beats sitting in front of the telly

Last night and I was over in Hafod y Llan on Snowdon again. This time with the Bethesda community hydro which is being developed with the Ogwen Valley partnership. This 500 to 600kw potential hydro is in the middle of its feasibility stages. The National Trust are part of the project team and we are all looking to see if this old hydro site can be resurrected. The NT were hosting the meeting of the partnership at Hafod y Llan in order to share our experiences of building decent size hydro but also to show what a decent size hydro looks like. For me I also wanted to see how the work site on the mountain was regenerating after all the civil engineering work. I found myself saying “I think this is where the anchor block is’  … “the pipe probably goes this way” the plant recolonisation has been phenomenal over the whole hydro route.

...and yes we has 13t tonne diggers and machines over this site 8 months ago. the pipe route is under this place. I was a bit shocked at how quickly the site is regenerating.

…and yes we had 13t tonne diggers and machines over this site 8 months ago. The pipe route is under this place. I was a bit shocked at how quickly the site is regenerating.

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Aber Dabba Doo Festival – Abergynwgregyn. Anafon Community Hydro about to launch

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 20.01.47

If your free and in the Abergwyngregyn area on the 13th of Sept (during community energy fortnight) then pop along to the village. The day promises to be one heck of a festival. Called the Aber Dabber Doo the festival is a combination of all things good around a village summer fate but it will also be a spring-board to one of the most ambitious community energy share issues in North Wales. By the way the Anafon Hydro is also one of the largest Community Hydros south of the Scottish border. The festival and awareness raising has been made possible by a combination of a Bangor University intern working with the community, the hard-working volunteers of Abergwnyngregyn and the village is also one of the first recipients of the new Community Energy Development Fund support in Wales

The Abergwyngregyn project or to give it its proper name Anafon Hydro has come a long way in two and half years. The community, the National Trust and I have learnt a lot in the process. From a bright idea a few of us had this has turned into a mountain of legal and business documentation but the ducks have been lined up and the community have moved on to the next aspect which is raising the finance.  On a personal perspective I am really proud in the small part I have had to play in the project and for me it has already generated something … good friends. The learning is now being shared with others in an active way…It has not been easy for all concerned but this will be forgotten when the community hydro is completed next summer. More to come on this as ever!

Background to the project

Remember the date! 13th of September

 

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This blog wins an award

Screen-Shot-2014-08-18-at-23.23Surprise. the National Trust Going Green blog has won an award from over the pond. We were selected by recommendations of our blog readers in the USA. The eCollege Finder in the USA has just informed us that we have won. to quote them

Congratulations! We’ve selected National Trust Going Green as a winner of eCollegeFinder’s Top Green Living Blogs Award! Your blog stood out amongst stiff competition and is now featured on our site as a recommended technology resource for our readers.

Nice to be recognised… and from so far away. Or a fraction of a second in terms of the internet. The site is now listed as a recommended site for green living aspects in the USA

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Busman’s holiday – Electric vehicles and sustainable transport. A view of the future? (ish)

simple EV truck used to service the camp site we were staying in. quest and cheap to run

simple EV truck used to service the camp site we were staying in. Quiet and cheap to run. Plus it looked cool!

Just back from France for a family holiday and saw what urban transport needs to do to move to be more sustainable. My kids were enthralled with all the family pictures of French EV’s (not true and a bit train spotty… very train spotty!) There were aspects which were further behind in France from what i saw such as a charging network and standard EV car use in the rural areas. But once we got into more utilitarian aspects and the French are miles ahead. I kept seeing sooooo many small utilitarian EV’s being used day-to-day. I don’t think the decision was a sustainability one but is based on cost and practicality.

A day visit to La Rochelle and I saw were we need to get with integrated transport system. From cheap easy to use park and ride, which were integrated into the new regular train system, bike hire, Electric cars, electric boats and the list goes on. La Rochelle showed me the power of a city council when it decides to ‘go for it’. For me ‘the user’ with my vast 20 words of French (16 of which involve food and drink) it was simple, quick and cheap to access. I wonder if we could do something more like this over here? We have aspects but not in such an integrated way

Yelo is a centrally run integrated transport system.

Yelo is a centrally run integrated transport system.

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