The famous Lake Tahoe resorts in California will be the first ski facilities in the US to operate on 100 percent renewable energy, eliminating emissions which would be a threat to the industry’s future.
The owner company Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ has partnered with the electric service provider Liberty Utilities to identify and develop new renewable energy generation, storage and efficiency projects to benefit the two Lake Tahoe resorts as well as the entire Olympic Valley area.
Andy Wirth, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said: “Solar power has come down in cost so much that it’s accessible now. It’s a purely economic decision. And it’s also about how we operate sustainably long into the future”.
“We’re glad to finally advance on this key, strategic level changeover to 100 percent renewable-sourced energy”, he added.
After it meets 100 percent of its energy needs, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows expects to halve its carbon footprint. More specifically, its annual carbon emissions will reduce from 13,078 to approximately 6,682 metric tonnes- a decrease of 49 percent generating carbon savings equivalent to the electric use of 957 homes.
Currently, the ski resorts use 75 percent natural gas and 25 percent renewables. The plan to source 100 percent clean energy significantly scales-up its commitment, and is expected to be reached as soon as December 2018.
Greg Sorensen, president of Liberty Utilities’ West Region, said: “Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has been very clear about their goal of powering their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy as soon as possible. We are very supportive of their initiative, which helps accelerate our transition to renewables to benefit customers throughout our service territory”.
Jeremy Jones, a professional snowboarder and environmental activist welcomed the news. “When you are a big company you have a huge voice and you can use that to act on climate, because climate change is not going away and we need this done a 1000 times over across the country and across the world”, he said.
He added: “I hope this project inspires not just other ski resorts but also other mountain towns. Renewable energy is here, and it is here now”.
Other environmental initiatives undertaken by Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows are the ban of single-use plastic water bottles, and the promotion of ride share and carpool incentive programmes to tackle visitors’ transport emissions.
You can learn more about sustainability in Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows here.
5 February 2018