the Centre for Alternative Technology

 High on a hill in Mid-Wales near Machynlleth, a group of idealists have shown that man can harmlessly draw energy from nature. In the past 13 years, this group, some 30 adults with their children, has  demonstrated the success of harnessing the energy of the sun, the wind and the rain to generate sufficient power for their needs.

Although they were not taken seriously by locals as the ‘hippies in the hills‘ when they first moved to the disused mining site a few miles from Machynlleth, their projects and enthusiasm have won them the support of the local people, big business, and international respect. Opposed to the government’s plans for both nuclear power and coal, the Centre for Alternative Technology is striving for a programme using renewable fuels which would protect the planet’s future.



“The way the  world is going, we could actually run out of known forms of energy before we actually blow ourselves up,” says Tim Kirby, an engineering graduate and CAT’s technical officer. The centre uses windmills, water turbines and soku: panels to heat and  effectively provide for all its facilities, and the group believes that there is no reason why such technology should not power the entire UK.


The CAT people live off the land, on organically-grown fruit and vegetables and naturally-bred animals. Some are vegetarian; all believe  in a low meat diet. Most members of staff live on the site; others choose to emulate the lifestyle in the surrounding area. While most of us were complaining about the lack of sunshine this summer, water pipes heated from solar panels at Machynlleth were red hot after just a couple of hours of autumnal sun. “Few people realise the  power of the sun’s rays.” says Mr. Kirby. He claims that the owner of a house with a wall of solar panels now pays around £75 a year on fuel bills as opposed to £500 for the average house.


A. Find words in the text which mean the same as the following.
1. make a great effort to get something done (paragraph 4):
2. imitate, copy (paragraph 6)

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