The NYT reports today that Colorado ski resort giant Vail Resorts is investing heavily in wind, “buying enough credits to offset all the power needed for its resorts, retail stores and office buildings.”
Vail Resort’s purchase makes them the second largest purchaser of wind credit after Whole Foods. The article states that Vail Resorts accounts for “10% of all skier visits in the nation last year.” This makes their commitment a pretty significant splash on the ski scene.
Vail Resorts has agreed to purchase 152,000 Megawatt Hours to offset their operational energy consumption. This deal significantly surpasses 21,000 MWHs of carbon offsets announced in March by Aspen Skiing Company, which until today were the largest REC purchase in the ski industry.
The stated drivers for this move are twofold:
Recent climate studies have suggested that winter tourism in the West could be especially hard hit in years to come by global warming, which could reduce mountain snowpack. But the chief executive officer at Vail, Robert A. Katz, said at a news conference that an equally important motive in embracing renewable energy was to establish and maintain relationships with visitors, who Mr. Katz said increasingly expected high environmental standards as they decided where to spend money.
I know RECs have their critics, but this is a big commitment and hopefully signals an industry-wide move. Now if we could only do something about all the CO2 pumped out by airplanes delivering those environmentally conscious skiers to Colorado.