Vail Resorts Buys Wind Power to Offset its Electric Power

Vail Resorts announced plans to buy enough wind power credits to offset the power needed for its resorts, retail stores and office buildings, making Vail the second largest corporate buyer of wind energy in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Vail officials said they plan to buy the equivalent amount of their energy needs in wind power credits from Renewable Choice Energy of Boulder, CO. Renewable Choice will then buy wind power from various producers and inject the amount of power Vail uses into the national electric grid.

The company would not estimate the program's costs but said that total energy use was about 152,000 megawatt hours a year. It also plans to create a promotional incentive plan to encourage employees and visitors to convert to wind power at home, with a free day ski pass to anyone who signs up.

Quayle Hodek, chief executive and founder of Renewable Choice Energy, says the idea of wind power credits is to displace fossil fuel generation nationally, if not quite locally. The day-to-day supply for Vail's chairlifts, lights and machinery will be generated by local suppliers, primarily by coal-fired generation.

Visitors to a Vail resort who sign up for wind power would not change utility providers but pay a $15 monthly family fee or $5 monthly individual fee to Renewable Choice to buy credits for the amount of wind used by their household, which would then be fed into the national grid. Buyers would pay the same electric bill as before.