One of the world’s most famous ski resorts, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe, California, has set the goal of being the first in the U.S. to be powered by 100 percent clean, renewable energy sources. It will be the first ski resort in the U.S. to go 100% renewable.
One of the big supporters of this move to renewables is the sports/environment organization Protect Our Winters (POW). Founder and pro-snowboarder Jeremy Jones speaks about it in the video below.
Working with Tesla and Liberty Utilities, the electric service provider in the region, the task is planned for completion by December of this year.
Over 6,000 acres
This is no small feat. The resort has over 6,000 skiable acres across two mountains as well as The Village at Squaw Valley, which includes over 50 bars, restaurants and boutiques.
Currently 25 percent of Liberty Utilities’ power mix provided to Squaw Valley is made up of renewables, with the other 75% coming from natural gas generation plants. Liberty Utilities is owned by Canada-based Algonquin Power & Utilities and bought the Lake Tahoe utility from NV Energy in 2011. It plans to add a 10-megawatt solar array near Reno to complement its existing 50-megawatt solar farm in Nevada.
“We are very supportive of this initiative.” said Greg Sorensen, president of Liberty Utilities’ West Region “It helps accelerate our transition to renewables to benefit customers throughout our service territory.”
Tesla 8Mw battery part of the system
Part of the project involves a new energy storage system with an 8Mw battery from Tesla installed on the resort’s property in an area currently used for materials storage.
This Olympic Valley Microgrid Project will store surplus energy and deliver that stored energy for emergency back up and supply to about 50,000 Liberty Utilities residential and commercial customers outside the mountain resort.
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows is well known and highly regarded for expanding its commitment to sustainability over the past 7 years. Some of the efforts include banning single-use plastic water bottle sales, introducing ride share and carpool incentive programs.
This latest project will reduce the Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows total annual carbon footprint by almost half (49%) to 6,682 metric tonnes from the current 13,078 metric tons (which includes fuels and other sources unrelated to the power grid). The reduction is equivalent to the emissions generated by the annual electric use of 959 homes.
Read more about Squaw/Alpine’s sustainabilitiy and renewable efforts