As part of the Marston Vale Trust’s commitment to making a real contribution to combating climate change; solar (photovoltaic) panels were fitted to the roof of the Forest Centre in December 2011. The panels cover over 400m2 of the roof and generate around 40,000 kWh of electricity every year (from 9th December 2011 to 14th December 2012 the actual reading was 44,821 kWh). This means that over a quarter of the Forest Centre’s annual electricity usage has been coming from solar energy.
The solar (photovoltaic) panels are just one step that the Trust has taken in creating a more energy sustainable future. We already heat the Forest Centre and our hot water using an efficient woodchip heating system. The Trust has achieved the ISO 14001 accreditation for our Environmental Management System following a series of measures, including low energy lighting, waste reduction and increased recycling.
The Marston Vale Trust are always looking for ways to improve and that is why over the next few months you will notice some groundwork being undertaken around the Millennium Country Park, in preparation for the installation of a wind turbine. The turbine is due to be delivered in February and after a short commissioning period it should be actively producing electricity in March 2014.
Made by one of the world’s leading manufacturers Enercon, it will have a hub height of 85m with rotors approximately 35m long. It is estimated to produce around 4,500,000 KWh of electricity per year, some of which will be used by the Forest Centre to ‘top-up’ what it receives through its photovoltaic panels. With the turbine installed the Forest Centre will run totally on renewable electricity. The remainder of the electricity produced will be exported to the National Grid and will be sufficient to power around 1,200 houses. It will also create an income for the Trust and reduce the Vale’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The Marston Vale Trust realises that the installation of a wind turbine will not be readily accepted by everyone. However the Trust firmly believes that for the greater good of the environment and in a small way to help reduce the greenhouse gasses that the burning of fossil fuel produces in generating electricity, that it is the best option for the Marston Vale and future generations.
To read all our blog posts that report progress on the turbine build, click here
An the Forest Centre’s reception, in Marston Moretaine we have a publication from the Centre for Sustainable Energy entitled ‘Common concerns about Wind Power’ – it details the concerns and current evidence as well as providing a summary of their research. Please ask to see it as it should answer any concerns you may have. It is also available as a download here (300kb pdf). With thanks to the Centre for Sustainable Energy www.cse.org.uk/
If you have further comments to make please email the Marston Vale Trust’s Chief Executive, Nick Webb on email@example.com