Sustainable Energy Projects
The Turbine House
Neath Port Talbot Council and CADW worked in partnership to aid in the reinstatement of a 100 year old Hydroelectric System and Turbine House in the Park.
A historical turbine house which was one of the first in the UK to power a home has been restored to once again provide electricity to Margam estate. It was originally installed in 1891, at the request of then-owner Emily Charlotte Talbot. The hydro-electric system, powered by a nearby stream, initially produced enough electricity to power 400 lamps. It was replaced in the 1950s but had not been used for many years. The original turbine was devised by Drake and Goreham of Westminster but it was removed and taken to South Africa more than 60 years ago.
The Grade II-listed Turbine House is of major historical importance, for Port Talbot and the UK, as Margam Castle is thought to be the second domestic house in Britain to be supplied with electricity.
The reinstated Turbine will generate onsite renewable electricity for buildings on the estate, including the Orangery, with any excess fed back to the National Grid.
The project was undertaken in 2 phases: Acanthus Holden, Conservation Architects, were appointed to develop a restoration scheme for the abandoned and derelict Turbine House, and once the design was finalised and Planning approval and Listed Building consent was granted, the project was competitively tendered successfully by building contractors David A Siggery Ltd, Conservation Builders from Carmarthen.
The building restoration included roof repairs, replacement windows and doors, a bat roost, the installation of utilities and services and internal refurbishment. On completion of the building refurbishment, Heidra Ltd, Mechanical Engineers who specialise in Renewable Energy projects, were appointed to oversee the design and delivery of the hydroelectric scheme and refurbishment of the existing turbine.
The turbine is powered by water which is fed from the fish pond, through an underground pipe that runs all the way down to the turbine house, from the lake - it runs under the impressive broadwalk steps that lead from the Orangery up to the Castle.
“Heidra was delighted to be asked by Neath Port Talbot Council to refurbish the 1920’s hydro-electric system at Margam Country Park. The turbine, which originally powered the castle electrics before the National Grid existed, has now been upgraded with a modern control and efficient electric generator to supply both heat and clean green electricity to power the Park.”
The Turbine House is open to the public to view, giving an insight into the development of modern-day renewable energy generators.”