Next winter, Squaw Valley Ski Corporation, who have two resorts at Lake Tahoe in California, plans to source all its electricity from solar and other renewable sources. This will make it the first ski resort in the USA to power its operations without fossil fuels.
Few businesses are as vulnerable to the impact of climate change as ski resorts. Rising temperatures, droughts and violent storms all wreck havoc with profits on the slopes. Other resorts that have committed to sourcing 100 percent of their energy from clean sources include Vail Resorts Inc., which has set a target of 2030. Aspen Skiing Co. has solar panels on site.
“Solar power has come down in cost so much that it’s accessible now,” Wirth said. “It’s a purely economic decision. And it’s also about how we operate sustainably long into the future.”
Liberty Utilities, a unit of Ontario’s Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., operates the grid for much of the Tahoe region and will supply some of the power to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows with two solar farms in Nevada with a combined capacity of 60 megawatts.
Squaw Valley has some interesting environmental initiatives. Apart from the commitment to 100% renewable energy, it has
- An employee ride program to increase ride sharing among staff
- Paid substantial funds to local transit services to improve regional bus services
- Donated to environmental restoration programs to restore the Truckee River and remove invasive aquatic weeds from Lake Tahoe. This is done through contributions by resort to the ‘Green Bucks’ program, plus dollar donations added to lift tickets, season passes and food and beverage sales, which benefit the Tahoe Fund and the Truckee River Watershed Council.
- Become the first resort in North America to ban the sale of single-use water bottles
- Sought to hold carbon neutral and waste free public events
- Installed four free electric car charge points
- Introduced a free ‘premium’ parking service for visitors involved in ride sharing (four or more passengers in the vehicle). This is a collaboration with Protect Our Winters.
It has also committed to demonstrating sustained leadership in the climate and environmental realms.
[IMAGE: Squaw Valley/ Alpine Meadows].