Ski Industry Makes Record Renewable Energy Purchase

Aspen Skiing Company (ASC), operator of four ski mountains and two hotels in Colorado, has made a landmark purchase of renewable energy certificates from wind farms to offset 100 percent of its electricity use. The purchase is the largest in the history of the U.S. ski industry.

“This purchase represents our guiding principles in action,” said ASC President/CEO Pat O’Donnell. “Clearly, the most pressing issue of our time is climate change, and addressing energy use is one of the most important actions we can take on that front.”

ASC will buy the wind energy certificates from Community Energy, a marketer and developer of wind energy generation, with an office in Boulder, Colorado. These purchases supplement ASC’s existing wind purchases from Holy Cross Energy, which account for 5% of company electricity usage.

A renewable energy certificate represents the benefit, in reduced carbon emissions, of a unit of electricity generation, typically one megawatt-hour. As more businesses and individuals buy certificates, the demand will cause more renewable energy to be generated.

“If everyone in the world bought renewable energy certificates like we have done,” said ASC Environmental Affairs Director Auden Schendler, “we’d be well on our way to solving the climate problem.”

“The EPA applauds Aspen Skiing Company for this important purchase of renewable energy certificates and its leadership in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions,” said Matt Clouse, program director of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. “We hope Aspen Skiing Company’s efforts will have a snowball effect on building support for renewable energy sources like wind power.”

Eric Blank, from Community Energy, says, “ASC’s wind purchases are helping to build new wind farms and leading the way to a cleaner and more independent energy future.”

A significant number of businesses are now buying renewable energy certificates to offset their electricity use. Whole Foods Market recently announced its purchase of certificates to offset 100 percent of its electricity purchases. In addition, companies like Johnson & Johnson, FedEx, Herman Miller and Staples are using renewable energy certificates to demonstrate their commitment to supporting clean energy.

With the purchase, ASC joins other leading businesses like Whole Foods, Fedex Kinkos, Starbucks, Nike and Patagonia in purchasing large amounts of renewable energy. The 21,000 megawatt hours (MWh) purchase keeps 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, out of the atmosphere each year. Most of these businesses are members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program seeking to increase the use of green power among leading U.S. organizations.

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