* Trust will sell renewable power for the first time
* Three projects to connect to the grid by end 2014
By Susanna Twidale
LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - Britain’s conservation charity the National Trust switched on its first large-scale renewable energy project on Wednesday and launched a new trading company to sell its power to the country’s national grid.
Sales from the Hafod y Llan hydroelectric project in Snowdonia, Wales could generate 300,000 pounds ($504,700) a year for the charity and mark the first of several schemes on Trust land which could help power homes in Britain, Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at the National Trust said by telephone.
While the cash generated is modest, Begg said it was an important step for the Trust to show power could be produced at areas of natural beauty without ruining the landscape.
“We have beautiful land and wonderful resources and wanted to demonstrate how this could be used to generate electricity but with the lightest possible touch and footprint,” he said.
The turbines at the Hafod y Llan scheme can generate 1,900 megawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power around 445 homes, but are largely hidden Begg said.
Two more hydro projects, at Hafod y Porth by Craflwyn in Wales and Stickle Ghyll in the Lake District will be able to sell surplus power by the end of the year while there are a further 9-10 sites which could be connected to the grid in the future Begg said.
The Trust has also created a new company; called National Trust (Renewable Energy) Ltd, that will be sell the energy produced to green energy company Good Energy Group.
“This is a fantastic project and shows renewables and conservation working hand in hand,” said Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy.
There are more than 250 small and medium-scale renewable energy schemes at National Trust sites across England and Wales, including biomass, solar and hydro technology, most of which power the Trust’s own properties.
The Charity hopes to generate half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and halve its fossil fuel use in the same period, which along with the revenue generated from selling power, could save around 4 million pounds it said.
The National Trust is a British charity which protects and opens to the public more than 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments. ($1 = 0.5944 British Pounds) (Reporting By Susanna Twidale, editing by David Evans)