ASPEN INVESTS $6 MILLION IN METHANE POWER
SAM Magazine—Aspen, Colo., June 26, 2012—The Aspen Skiing Co. (ASC) is investing $6 million in a 3MW methane plant that will generate 25 million kW of electricity annually and, in the process, eliminate greenhouse gases equal to three times the company's yearly carbon emissions.
In the past, methane emissions from the Somerset, Colo., mine, as with many other mines, have simply been vented into the atmosphere. Once the plant is operating, the methane will instead generate an amount of electricity equal to annual energy use from all sources for the company’s four resorts. The carbon reduction is so significant because methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
This project could be duplicated at other, similar sites, says Auden Schendler, Aspen vice president, sustainability. “The project is highly replicable. We see great potential in this market. We will likely play a part in future project development,” he told SAM.
This project, he added, “united hard-core conservatives and liberals, coal miners and skiers. It meets our common goals of preventing the waste of resources, providing clean energy for people, and reducing pollution.
“We need to start showing the world projects that respond to climate change at scale—not a few token solar panels here and there, but utility scale projects—done in profitable ways, using a nonpartisan, collaborative approach.”
Schendler said that the ROI is about 12 percent, meaning it will take roughly eight years to repay the initial investment. Life of the project is projected at 15 to 30 years.