A luxury hotel on Anglesey has slashed its energy bills by investing £500,000 in building its own biomass plant.
Tre-Ysgawen Hall country house hotel and spa at Capel Coch, near Llangefni, is thought to be the first hotel in Wales to harness the power of biomass fuel for all its heating needs.
The 600kW renewable energy system, which is powered by wood chip, will completely cancel out the £90,000 a year oil bill of the four-star hotel and will help safeguard its future as a key island employer of 80 people.
Edwina Hart, Welsh Government Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, switched on the new boiler on Tuesday (10 April).
"This investment will secure the long-term sustainable future of the hotel, ensure it remains highly competitive and also safeguard jobs," she said. "Tre-Ysgawen is setting an example of how investment in low-carbon technology can bring real economic benefits."
Neil Rowlands, the hotel's chief executive, took the decision to invest in the cutting-edge green technology in a bid to cut the property's £200,000 a year energy bills.
Rowlands said: "It was becoming increasing painful to watch as the price of oil continued to rise all the time and it was essential to regain more control of the hotel's energy costs.
"We have been spending £200,000 a year on LPG, oil and electricity and in business terms, that means I have to have a turnover of £800,000 a year just to pay the fuel bills. It was crucial to the future of the hotel that we did something now to address this.
"We are one of the island's largest employers and while I recognise the boiler's green credentials, I was also looking at it from the point of view of looking after the business and ensuring we can still be a worthwhile employer to the 80 people who have jobs with us. This is very important to me."
Rowlands commissioned an on-site audit by energy experts Carbon Control, which works with its clients to find ways of reducing energy consumption and increase sustainability. The boiler was sourced from and installed by Rural Energy.
The biomass boiler will cost the hotel £40,000 a year to run, but due to the British Government's renewable heat incentive, which is a payment for renewable energy generated by individuals and businesses, the running costs of the boiler will be paid for under the subsidy scheme for the next 20 years.
The boiler, made in Austria, has been installed within its own building at the back of the hotel. The fuel is tipped by the delivery vehicle into a large storage unit at the front of the structure. When the boiler needs fuel, it draws in wood chip from the storage compartment and burns it. The resulting energy is then transferred to the hotel and spa to provide their heating and hot water.
The large-scale biomass project at Tre-Ysgawen, which requires 450 tonnes of wood chip a year, has given the company supplying the fuel for the boiler a financially viable opportunity to set up a new depot on Anglesey with the creation of two full-time jobs.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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