Alvie Estate have made it their mission to become more self-sufficient in electricity and heat. The cost to heat Alvie House in 2005 was around £20,000 per annum, and on the rise, as well as using a lot of fossil fuels. In a bid to reduce their costings, and become more sustainable, they decided to install a woodchip biomass boiler. The 250 KW wood chip boiler, including underground woodchip silo and feed mechanism was installed in 2006 with financial support for this investment from the Forestry Commission and the Local Enterprise Company.
Woodchip boilers produce more energy, cost less and are a sustainable source of energy. The project at Alvie Estate uses wood from their own woodlands and converts them into wood chips, that are then used to heat the estate, reducing the reliance on fuel.
They not only sustain themselves, but also provide heating for the local community within a 40 mile radius. It is already a local supplier of woodchips for biomass boilers and has the potential to be a net exporter of energy in the form of electricity.
Alvie Estate also has an existing hydro-electric scheme on the Allt an Fhearna burn that was erected around 1906 and closed around 1962. It is proposed to again generate electricity from the burns on Alvie Estate either by refurbishing the existing scheme or by constructing a new scheme.
Alvie Estate are forward thinking in their approach to preserving the estate and creating a sustainable environment for future generations.