Project Development, Wind Power

Mass. Ski Resort Plans Wind Turbine Project

While there are a handful of ski resorts that offset some of their energy needs through the use of wind power credits, none have an actual wind turbine installed on it. That’s soon about to change.

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, located in Western Massachusetts has announced plans to erect a single wind turbine near its summit reservoir, on the western portion of the resort’s lands. The developers believe it will be the first wind turbine installed at a ski resort in the United States. In pursuit of this goal, Jiminy has applied for and received a competitively awarded grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative for $582,000 to offset the project’s total design and construction costs of approximately $2.1 million. The 1 MW, commercial-scale wind turbine project will be capable of producing enough electricity to power more than 350 homes or approximately 30 percent of Jiminy Peak’s annual demand for electricity. The installation of a wind turbine is an excellent fit for the ski resort because Jiminy uses more electricity in the winter months, for snow making and lift operations, which is also the season when the winds will be the strongest and most steady. In addition, because of the existing trail and work road network at Jiminy Peak, transportation of the turbine components will not involve scarring virgin land. Jiminy’s decision to pursue this wind turbine project is one part of its decades-long effort to conserve the use of energy from fossil fuel for economic and environmental goals. A wind turbine will provide the resort with a significant amount of low-cost electricity and because the wind is a free fuel, the cost will remain low. Finding a creative way to lower operating expenses will protect Jiminy Peak’s financial health, support local jobs and will contribute to the economic vitality of the local community and Berkshire County. Another important factor in deciding to develop a wind turbine was the environmental benefits it can provide. The clean, emission-free electricity produced by the wind turbine means that a similar amount of electricity does not have to be generated by a coal, oil or gas fired power plant. Based on Massachusetts’ current electricity generation profile, the wind turbine would offset the annual emission of 4,100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2 is the leading cause of global warming); 18,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide (SOx is a leading contributor to smog and the primary cause of acid rain); and 5,900 pounds of nitrous oxide (NOx contributes to smog and is a leading cause of asthma). “As the world’s demand for electricity continues to grow, it is important to understand that we have the opportunity to select cleaner energy sources from available technologies,” said a statement from the resort staff. “Jiminy Peak is blessed with an abundant, renewable wind resource and has chosen to utilize this natural power to make its own electricity. Jiminy Peak Resort management and employees are committed to being responsible stewards of natural resources, and the wind turbine will further this cause.”