Vail Resorts, Inc. has taken major steps in its ‘Commitment to Zero’ campaign. The company announced a long-term wind energy contract to purchase the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 100% of its estimated FY 2019 North American operations by 2020.
Additionally, Vail Resorts announced a partnership with Eco-Products to supply all of its North American restaurants with compostable and recycled-content items and eliminate conventional single-use plastics, a process which will begin during the 2018-19 winter season.
“As a growing company, deeply connected to the outdoors, we made a commitment last year to address our most pressing global and environmental challenges and protect our local communities and natural resources,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
He added: “Today we are thrilled to announce significant initiatives that will help us achieve our zero net emissions and zero waste to landfill goals, and provide a transparent look at our progress through our first EpicPromise Progress Report.”
The company’s multimillion-dollar wind energy virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) enables the development of the Plum Creek Wind Project, which is expected to be completed in 2020. Under the 12-year agreement, Vail Resorts is purchasing 310,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually – enough wind energy to reduce the emissions associated with the Company’s estimated FY 2019 North American electricity use by 100%, which includes the recent acquisitions of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Stevens Pass Resort, Okemo Mountain Resort, and Mount Sunapee Resort.
Vail Resort’s wind deal with Lincoln Clean Energy, a subsidiary of Ørsted and developer of U.S. renewables, is the first of its kind to be executed by a Colorado-based company as a buyer. Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services served as a strategic advisor to Vail Resorts on the selection of the Plum Creek project.
“This agreement is just one of many ways Vail Resorts is working to be an industry leader in preserving the environment by bringing more renewable energy online,” said Katz. “While we continually work with local, state and federal governments and utility partners to find ways to source renewable energy in the markets where our individual resorts are located, this wind power purchase agreement allows us to make a measurable impact on climate change – and its effect on the planet – within just a few years.”
On a local level, Vail Resorts recently signed a contract with Xcel Energy in Colorado to support a new solar energy facility, and is sponsoring Rocky Mountain Power’s request for proposal for 308,000 MWh of renewable energy, which could lead to a significant increase in the amount of solar, wind, and geothermal projects in Utah. Additionally, the company has invested $2.4 million in energy efficiency projects across its resorts over the last year, including low-energy snowmaking and energy-efficient building upgrades.
Achieving zero net emissions by 2030 is one pillar within the company’s ‘Commitment to Zero’ sustainability goal, announced by Vail Resorts in 2017. Another pillar is to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2030.
“We are on a journey to re-imagine what it means to be a leader in sustainability by focusing on what’s right for our communities, our mountains and our future,” said Katz. “To succeed, we must rely on our individual and collective participation to ignite a passion for the great outdoors and strong communities for generations to come.”
Filed Under: News, Policy, Projects