The historic Turbine House located in Margam National Park has been restored to once again provide electricity to the Margam Estate.
The Turbine House was built in 1891 for Emily Charlotte Talbot, who commissioned the development of a hydroelectric system fed by a nearby fish pond. The original turbine generated enough electricity to power 400 lamps. It is believed that Margam’s Castle was the second domestic dwelling to have electricity in Britain at this time.
During the 1950s, the original turbine was removed and taken to South Africa. The replacement turbine has now been fully restored after being neglected for many years.
The restored turbine can now produce around 25 kW of renewable energy that will be used to power the buildings at Margam’s estate, including the prestigious on-site wedding venue, the Orangery.
The hydroelectric system does not create any emissions when in service and any unspent energy will be fed back into the national grid. The project will save money on the operation of the national park, reduce the carbon footprint and provide an educational resource for local residents, visitors and schools.
Cllr Peter Rees, Neath Port Talbot Council Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said:
âThis project perfectly combines a part of Margam’s history with the board’s modern Decarbonization and Renewable Energy (DARE) strategy and I want to thank everyone involved in restoring this precious source of renewable energy. “
The turbine restoration project was overseen by the Neath Port Talbot Council, with support from Cadw and the Friends of Margam Country Park who worked closely with Heidra, the company responsible for the restoration of the old turbine.
Steve Ritchie from Heidra said:
âHeidra was delighted to be invited by Neath Port Talbot Council to refurbish the 1920s hydroelectric system at Margam Country Park. The turbine, which originally supplied electricity to the castle before the existence of the national grid, has now been upgraded with modern control and an efficient electric generator to provide both heat and electricity clean green to power the park.
In addition to housing the turbine, the building will also serve as a workshop and exhibition space for the Friends of Margam Park.
The turbine is open to the public, which will help promote and provide insight into the significant development of modern renewable energy generators.