Climate change poses an existential threat to winter as we know it. It is already having a negative impact on Australia’s mountain ranges (for instance, snow pack has been in decline since the late 1950s). It will also impact on the businesses that rely on good winter snow. At present the Australian snow industry generates more than $1.8 billion a year and employs more than 18,000 people. Yet under current greenhouse scenarios, climate change could cut Australia’s ski season by more than two months. If we don’t start to slow down climate change, it means the end of skiing as we currently know it.
There are three response which are required to this threat if ski resorts want to have a hope of long term viability: they need to act to mitigate (or reduce) their greenhouse gas emissions). They need to adapt to the changes that are already locked in (for instance through investing in snow making equipment or highlighting their ‘green season’ activities). And hopefully they will also use their business and political power by advocating for all levels of government to take meaningful action on climate change.
In what is being described as ‘an Australian snow industry first’ (1), Thredbo resort in NSW has announced that it has signed a deal that will ensure that ‘all its major resort operations are now powered by renewable energy’ provided by Red Energy.
The following release comes from Thredbo resort.
In an Australian snow industry first, Thredbo is excited to announce that all its major resort operations are now powered by renewable energy. Thredbo has signed an agreement with Red Energy to obtain the resort operations’ electricity supply from renewable sources, reinforcing Thredbo’s core commitment to the environment.
In a three year deal with Red Energy, the resort has purchased 9 gigawatt hours of energy per year, the equivalent to the electricity consumed by 1,500 average homes. With Thredbo located in the Snowy Mountains, electricity consumption peaks in the winter months with the addition of snowmaking, heating and guest amenities so this agreement goes a long way to preserving the backyard we love, for future generations.
“Becoming powered by renewable energy has been our goal for some time now and by achieving this we’ve set the environmental benchmark for Australian resorts. We are extremely proud to be at the forefront of reducing our carbon footprint into the future,” said Stuart Diver, General Manager of Thredbo.
Red Energy is 100% owned by Snowy Hydro, making this a valuable partnership with two local environmentally conscious businesses.
Paul Broad, Managing Director of Snowy Hydro said, “This landmark Energy Supply Agreement with Thredbo represents one of the first direct off-takes for ‘firmed’ renewable electricity of this type. On-demand hydro from the mighty Snowy Scheme will underpin our contracted wind and solar generation, meaning Red Energy can supply Thredbo with reliable renewable energy. It’s really satisfying to play our part in Thredbo’s commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.”
Check here for additional information on Thredbo’s environmental initiatives.
(1) My understanding is that previously Falls Creek resort in Victoria ran some of its operations from locally produced hydro electricity.