Australian news, and some related international items

USA ski resorts take to renewable energy, acting to address climate change

Ski resorts go renewable U.S. ski resorts tap renewable energy sources to combat climate change Action Sports  July 13, 2012,   By Jesse Huffman  As the volatility of the 2011-12 season made clear, the stake ski resort’s have in resolving climate change is a big one. Over the past three years, resorts like Bolton , Burke , Jiminy Peak  and Grouse Mountain  have installed wind turbines, while others have pursued efficiency updates, in an effort to take responsibly produce, and reduce, the power and heat involved in swinging chairs and heating lodges all winter long. Now, four more areas, from local ski hills in the Northeast to major resorts in the Rockies, have installed or invested in renewable power sources ranging from solar to biomass to coalmine methane.

Smuggler’s Notch  closed early this winter after a spring meltdown saw the highest March temperatures in Vermont’s history. The same solar energy that drove skiers and riders batty as it took away their snow is now being put to use by an array of 35 solar trackers, which collectively produce 205,000 kWh per year — around five percent of Smuggler’s total electrical use. The array provides enough juice for most of the resort’s Village Lodge.

Dan Maxon, Smuggler’s Notch Solar Installation Project Manager, toured me through the installation on a recent morning, when the GPS-enabled trackers, manufactured by a Vermont company called ALLEarth Renewables, were tilted east to catch the a.m. sun.

“We believe it is important not only for ski resorts, but for all energy users to take some responsibility for their energy consumption,” Maxon told me. “There was a good confluence of energy and desire that made this project come together — we’d been looking at various renewable projects for six-seven years, but couldn’t pull them off. This one we could.”

The array would normally have cost a million dollars to install, but Smuggler’s engaged in an innovative leasing program from AllEarth, and in five years it will have the option to buy the equipment outright at a reduced price. Smuggler’s is adding this solar project to existing efforts to outfit new condominium units with solar hot water heaters……

Hancock sees pressure from customers, not just warming winters, as a driver that will push resorts to do more to lower their impact.

“You don’t venture out with kids and grandparents in zero degree windy weather if you don’t love the outdoors and care greatly about the planet,” says Hancock. “As more ski areas take a more serious approach to their environmental footprint, I believe a greater environmental stewardship will be an ante to stay in business.”

Across the divide in the Rockies, Park City Mountain Resort  has recently installed a Falcon 12kW vertical axis wind turbine  at the top of their Silverlode chairlift. Paired with a solar panel, the installation generates 30,000 kW hours of electricity annually, around three times the amount of an average home. Park City also included an informational kiosk that will let the public see the power being generated in real time.

“Our goal is for our guests to see a turbine and solar array installation up close and hopefully encourage them to install wind or solar at their home or business,” says Brent Giles, Chief Sustainability Officer of Powdr Corp, Park City’s parent company.

“We live, work and recreate in a mountain setting and we want to continue this lifestyle for years to come,” says Giles. “Therefore we have adopted a policy to reduce emissions generated by our operations.”

Large-scale renewable installations aren’t really an option at Park City, says Giles. Instead, the resort purchases wind power renewable energy credits that offset 100 percent of their electricity usage, which averages 14 million kWh’s annually…..

July 14, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: