Tom Zebarth: Resorts should generate their own power |

Tom Zebarth: Resorts should generate their own power

Tom Zebarth

Within the past few years, your paper printed an article which stated that the ski areas in Colorado were among the top five total energy consumers in the state. On the other side of that coin, you have published at least an article a year on how hard Vail Resorts has worked to reduce energy consumption and/or purchase energy credits (or offsets – whatever they’re called) to show that the resort is indeed a good energy neighbor. Within the last month or so, Vail announced a massive effort to change to more efficient light bulbs throughout the company, which is a good idea but hardly a significant contribution to the state/national energy problems. How many super-efficient light bulbs does it take to offset the power consumption of a new lift or restaurant, or snow making 24/7?

I have a modest suggestion for Vail Resorts. I think it would be appropriate if Vail were to spend some money to put at least some energy back into the grid. Instead of the rather puny efforts to conserve or offset your energy consumption to date, why don’t you build your own wind turbine/solar panel farm, adding additional units as profits permit every year, and donate the energy produced into the state/national grid? I believe the law requires the power company to accept the energy, which would probably offset some of your consumption and reduce your energy costs, you’d get all kinds of tax credits, and you would have real, tangible assets to put your name on to show a real corporate commitment to your claims of being a green company.

And no, I do not think you need to build wind turbines on any of the ski areas. God forbid that any mega-mansion view corridors be trashed. I think you would have to work with Xcel engineers on the right places to put them, operating protocols, and the means of power transmission.

Radical concept, I know, but Vail has shown some imagination and leadership qualities in the ski industry before, so who knows?

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