Vail goes with Wind Power
August 2, 2006
Let's see crossing the line: wind power, global warming concerns within the ski industry, anti-wv coal, will local resort get onboard, general mayhem, mudslinging and so forth... OH and JUST HOW MUCH power does it take run them ski resorts, I always wondered that.
Vail Resorts to offset energy use with wind power credits
(from USA Today website)
Downtown Breckenridge, Colo. Vail Resorts will buy enough wind-powered electricity to replace all the power used by its five ski areas, including Breckenridge.
By Tom Kenworthy, USA TODAY
DENVER - Vail Resorts, which operates ski areas in the West and hotels across the nation, announced Tuesday that it will purchase wind power credits that equal 100% of its annual energy use.
The move will make the Colorado-based company the second-largest corporate buyer of wind power credits in the USA, after Whole Foods Market.
"We want to reinforce our commitment to the environment ... and be a leader on this critical effort within the travel industry," CEO Rob Katz said.
Businesses and consumers can't buy power directly from producers of "renewable" energy such as wind. Instead, as Vail and Whole Foods are doing, they purchase credits from brokers who buy power from wind farms or other renewable sources and ensure it goes into the national energy grid.
It's a method of subsidizing the higher cost of producing renewable energy compared with conventional energy sources such as coal or natural gas. That increases the demand for wind and solar power, encourages producers of renewable power to build facilities and reduces the use of fuels that pollute the air and contribute to global warming.
Though electricity generated from wind turbines accounts for only about 1% of U.S. production, it is the fastest-growing segment. According to the federal Energy Information Administration, wind power generation grew by 46.6% from April 2005 to April 2006, from 1.4 million megawatt hours to more than 2 million megawatt hours. The average U.S. home uses about 10.6 megawatt hours of electricity a year.
Vail's decision reflects a growing concern about global warming among owners of U.S. ski and snowboard resorts, which are increasingly buying renewable energy credits to offset their energy use. Aspen Skiing already offsets 100% of its electricity use through the purchase of 21,000 megawatt hours of wind power credits.
Vail Resorts estimates the 152,000 megawatt hours of wind energy credits it will buy through a Colorado-based broker are equal to eliminating 211 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year. That is the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the road, Katz said.
Companywide, Vail Resorts uses about the same electricity as about 14,000 homes. It operates the Keystone, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Vail ski resorts in Colorado, Heavenly Mountain ski resort near Lake Tahoe, the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming, and other resort hotels from California to Vermont.
Posted 8/1/2006 3:43 PM ET