Vail Resorts nears 100% renewable electricity goal as large-scale wind farm goes online |

Vail Resorts nears 100% renewable electricity goal as large-scale wind farm goes online

Sierra Sun staff

Vail Resorts celebrated a major step toward its 100% renewable electricity goal on Wednesday as a new large-scale wind farm, enabled by the company, has gone online.

Vail Resorts, which operates three resorts in the Truckee-Tahoe area, has committed to purchase 310,000 megawatt hours of wind energy annually from the new 82-turbine Plum Creek Wind project, which will address more than 90% of the company’s current electricity use across its 34 North American resorts.

As a part of Vail Resorts’ Commitment to Zero sustainability pledge, the company has a stated goal to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

In 2018, Vail Resorts announced a partnership with global renewable energy leader, Ørsted, via a virtual power purchase agreement to enable the Plum Creek Wind project, based in Wayne County, Nebraska.

“Setting bold operational sustainability goals, and finding innovative ways to reach them, is a priority for us at Vail Resorts,” said Kate Wilson, senior director of sustainability at Vail Resorts. “Along with local efforts, (virtual power purchase agreements) are an important way for large companies to have a measurable impact on climate change. Reaching our Commitment to Zero energy goals will require a multi-pronged strategy and bringing new, renewable energy to the grid is a key way we’ll get there.”

The amount of wind energy Vail Resorts committed to purchase was equivalent to 100% of the company’s North American electricity usage at the time. Since then, Vail has acquired 17 smaller ski areas in the U.S. and now has resorts across 15 states and three countries.

“We are incredibly proud to enable Ørsted’s Plum Creek Wind project and to support the generation of new renewable energy,” said Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts. “This wind energy agreement addresses the majority of the emissions associated with our company’s electricity use. We are thrilled with this progress and remain committed to achieving our 100% renewable electricity goal, even as our company grows.”

Vail Resorts has also committed to investing $25 million in innovative, energy-saving projects between its fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2030 in three key areas: snowmaking, buildings, and lifts. During the last two years, the company invested nearly $5 million on these projects, which has included 400 new low-energy snowguns, LED lighting retrofits and updated building controls.

Vail Resorts’ Commitment to Zero pledge is to reach a zero net operating footprint by 2030. This commitment features zero net emissions, which includes 100% renewable electricity; zero waste to landfill; and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.

Vail Resorts reports on progress around Commitment to Zero annually in its EpicPromise Progress Report. The 2020 Progress Report will be released in October 2020.

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