SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., July 1, 2020—Vail Resorts (VR) took a major step toward its 100 percent renewable electricity goal as a new large-scale wind farm, enabled in part by VR, has come online. VR will purchase 310,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy annually from the new 82-turbine Plum Creek Wind project, which will address more than 90 percent of VR’s current electricity use across its 34 North American resorts. As a part of VR's Commitment to Zero sustainability pledge, it aims to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
In 2018, VR partnered with global renewable energy leader Ørsted to help enable the Plum Creek Wind project in Nebraska through virtual power purchase agreement, in which committed to purchase energy equal to 100 percent of its North American electricity usage at the time. (Since then, VR acquired 17 smaller ski areas in the U.S. from Peak Resorts.)
“We are incredibly proud to enable Ørsted’s Plum Creek Wind project and to support the generation of new renewable energy,” said Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts.
“Reaching our Commitment to Zero energy goals will require a multi-pronged strategy, and bringing new, renewable energy to the grid is a key way we’ll get there,” added Kate Wilson, senior director of sustainability.
VR also supports renewable power on a local level. It is a sponsor of Xcel Energy’s new solar energy facility in Colorado and has advocated for Rocky Mountain Power’s 308,000 MWh renewable energy project, which will lead to a significant increase in the amount of green energy in Utah.
VR has also committed to investing $25 million in energy-saving projects in snowmaking, buildings, and lifts between 2017 and 2030. Over the last two years, VR invested nearly $5 million on these projects.
VR's Commitment to Zero pledge includes (1) zero net emissions, which includes 100 percent renewable electricity, (2) zero waste to landfill, and (3) zero net operating impact to forests and habitat. VR reports on its progress toward these goals annually in its EpicPromise Progress Report. The 2020 Progress Report will be released in October 2020. Find the 2019 Progress Report here.