Yesterday (July 29) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced New York State’s state-operated ski resorts at Belleayre, Gore and Whiteface Mountain will use solar power to run their ski lift and snowmaking operations. Under the NY-Sun Initiative the state government’s agencies signed a 25-year power-purchase-agreement agreement with Borrego Solar to provide solar power to the ski resorts.
Gore Mountain, which has the most skiable terrain and largest lift infrastructure in New York State, will use solar power to blow snow, operate lifts and power other equipment at the sites. It alone is using about 13 million kilowatt hours—roughly $1 million—in electricity and utility costs annually. The offsite solar panels that will power the facility are expected to reduce Gore’s energy bill by over $213,000 in the first year alone and could save the facility as much as $14-million over the contract’s lifespan.
“By using renewable energy to power major operations at these world-class ski resorts, we are building upon this administration’s commitment to expand this state’s use of renewable energy, strengthen this important, job-creating economic sector, and reduce New York’s carbon footprint,” Cuomo said. “This exciting news is just one more reason to visit one of New York’s premier ski resorts this winter.”
The resorts had previously upgraded to more sustainable infrastructure. Among the changes, Gore Mountain added 260 low-energy, high-efficiency snow guns to and Whiteface added 100 energy efficient guns. Belleayre is adding energy-efficient guns to its fleet of 600 guns, too. The energy-efficient guns use the same amount of water as other guns but use less energy and air than other snow guns.
“We want to make sure that this wonderful recreational sport stays around for generations to come,” said ORDA chairman Pat Barrett. As such reducing a site’s carbon footprint by using renewable energy is a great way to help. “With this initiative ORDA will substantially reduce its carbon footprint essentially akin to removing over 46,000 cars from the road over the life of the agreement,” he said.
“These projects demonstrate an innovative use of solar energy, which is helping a wide range of businesses across New York State reduce electricity costs and preserve the environment,” said John B. Rhodes, president and CEO, NYSERDA. “They are examples of tangible State actions under Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.”Tweet