A multi-million pound scheme to develop 'green' education at mid Wales largest tourist attraction has been given the go-ahead.
Wales Institute of Sustainable Education should be ready in 2005
The Centre for Alternative Technology (Cat) near Machynlleth has secured £4m to build a new complex to answer the demand for courses at the Pantperthog site.
During the past 10 years, Cat's education courses programme has expanded enormously.
In 1994, 280 people attended courses at the centre. By last year more than 1,300 people attended 56 different courses.
These included a masters course run by the University of East London and involves 160 students travelling to Pantperthog for one week in every month for 10 months of the year.
"The new complex will deliver additional practical courses in sustainable technologies," said Phil Horton, Cat's special projects officer.
"It will provide an increase in the number of environmental conferences and seminars held at the centre as well as provide employment opportunities for teaching staff."
Many people are trying to find different ways of living
Cat attracts 65,000 visitors a year to its research and demonstration centre which aims to inspire, inform and enable people to explore new ways of living.
Since it opened in 1975 it has established a reputation as one of the leading organisations demonstrating ecological technologies and lifestyles.
The centre contains a range of interactive displays on wind, water and solar power, green transport and energy efficiency.
"This project will be one of the largest, most comprehensive environmental building projects in the UK," said Mr Horton.
Building work will start on the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education this June with completion scheduled for winter 2005.