Families and visitors gathered at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth for an open day to celebrate the organisations fiftieth anniversary.

On Saturday, August 19, Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) held a family open day to commemorate 50 years since the centre was founded in 1973 on a disused slate quarry.

The centre celebrated its milestone on a day filled with activities, workshops, talks, tours, storytelling, music and reflections on the development of the organisation, which has evolved from community to a visitor centre to an educational charity specialising in sharing practical solutions for sustainability.


Eileen Kinsman, CAT co-CEO said: “Whether visiting, studying, working, volunteering or as a member or supporter of CAT, everyone who has been part of CAT’s journey has taken something positive away and made an impact, big or small.  For five decades we have been giving people hope and empowering them to act.

“Whatever you do to support CAT, thank you. Our achievements over the past 50 years have only been possible because people like you have the compassion, commitment and courage to act.”

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CAT began life as an off the grid community in 1973, made up of volunteers, engineers, architects, builders and growers, who wanted to find ways of living without relying on fossil fuels in response to the 1970s oil crisis and a growing concern about the environmental impact of fossil fuels.

CAT founder, Gerard Morgan-Grenville once described the initiative by saying: “What was needed was a project to show the nature of the problem and indicate ways of going forward.

“In such seclusion, so far from the pressures under which most people live, I had the feeling that something new, some fresh and saner way of living might be demonstrated.”

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In 1975 they opened a visitor centre as a way of showcasing their experiments with wind and solar power, building the country’s first complete solar heated building.

The centre is proud of its history of research, from early experiments with wind power that helped with the development of modern wind turbines, to the creation of prototypes of solar-powered vaccine fridges that are now used throughout the world.

Since 2007, the centre’s main focus has been its Zero carbon Britain Project, which provides a model for how researchers at CAT hope the UK could reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions using technology currently available.

CAT is also celebrating 50 years of education, which has seen 1,795 people study at the centre.