Vail Resorts Inc., a global operator of mountain resorts, has signed a long-term wind energy contract to purchase the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 100% of its estimated FY 2019 North American operations by 2020, which includes 17 resorts and their associated retail, hospitality and corporate offices.
The company says its multimillion-dollar virtual power purchase agreement enables the development of Lincoln Clean Energy’s (LCE) Plum Creek Wind Project, which is expected to be completed in 2020. LCE, a subsidiary of Ørsted, also has a deal with the J. M. Smucker Co. for the Nebraska wind farm.
Under its 12-year agreement, Vail Resorts is purchasing 310,000 MWh annually, the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 30,000 average U.S. homes each year. Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services served as a strategic advisor to Vail Resorts on the selection of the Plum Creek project.
“This agreement is just one of many ways Vail Resorts is working to be an industry leader in preserving the environment by bringing more renewable energy online,” says Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts. “While we continually work with local, state and federal governments and utility partners to find ways to source renewable energy in the markets where our individual resorts are located, this wind power purchase agreement allows us to make a measurable impact on climate change – and its effect on the planet – within just a few years.”
Achieving zero net emissions by 2030 is one pillar within the company’s “Commitment to Zero” sustainability goal, announced in 2017. Another pillar is to achieve zero waste-to-landfill by 2030. In turn, Vail Resorts has announced a partnership with Eco-Products to supply all of its North American restaurants with compostable and recycled-content items and eliminate conventional single-use plastics, a process that will begin during the 2018-19 winter season.
At the local level, Vail Resorts recently signed a contract with Xcel Energy in Colorado to support a new solar energy facility and is sponsoring Rocky Mountain Power’s request for proposals for 308,000 MWh of renewable energy. Additionally, the company has invested $2.4 million in energy efficiency projects across its resorts over the last year, including low-energy snowmaking and energy-efficient building upgrades.