Anglesey hotel slashes its energy bill with biomass

24th Apr 2012

The four-star Tre-Ysgawen Hotel on the Isle of Anglesey is thought to be the first Welsh hotel to benefit from the installation of a biomass heating system which has the potential to radically slash the hotel’s energy bills.

The business has invested £500,000 in the green heating system which is powered by wood chip and will produce about 600 kW of energy. The plant will completely wipe out the hotel’s £90,000 per year oil bill and was switched on by the Welsh government Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, Edwina Hart, on Tuesday 10th April.

“This investment will secure the long-term sustainable future of the hotel, ensure it remains highly competitive and also safeguard jobs” the Minister said. “Tre-Ysgawen is setting an example of how investment in low-carbon technology can bring real economic benefits.”

In total, the hotel used to spend some £200,000 on energy bills and so the hotel manager, Neil Rowlands, decided to invest in a biomass system in order to try and cut this figure down to a more manageable level. He said it was painful to watch the price of oil rising all the time, and so it became 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.”

The first step was to commission an on-site energy audit by expert energy company Carbon Control. The brief was to find ways of reducing energy consumption and thus increasing sustainability. The biomass boiler itself was obtained from and installed by Rural Energy. It will cost the hotel about £40,000 per year to operate but the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive will mean that the boiler costs will be covered by a subsidy for the next twenty years.

The boiler is housed in its own building at the rear of the hotel and the fuel is tipped from a lorry into a storage area next to it from which it is fed automatically into the boiler. As well as saving on hotel energy bills it also means that the local biomass supplier has been able to build a new depot creating two full time jobs.