Perhaps it’s more cost effective in the short term for ski areas to buy renewable energy credits rather than set up their own turbines to produce their own green energy for the long term.
The Durango Telegraph reported today, in their “Mountain Exchange” section that Vail Resorts knows how to line up politicians to get good press.
Three years ago, when announcing its purchase of renewable energy credits sufficient to power all of its five ski areas, the company held a press conference and managed to get two of Colorado’s most prominent politicians – a Democrat and a Republican – together. The story and photos ended up on the front page of what were then Denver’s two daily newspapers.The New York Times also gave the story prominent play.
The cost of that commitment for 152,000 megawatts, the second largest corporate purchase in the country at that time, was never revealed. But a conservative estimate of the value of publicity was $800,000.
For this announcement, Katz had the Denver mayor, the Colorado governor, a Congresswoman, a U.S. senator, and one member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet on hand to lend a few comments, mostly laudatory to Vail.
The company has not renewed its purchase of renewable energy credits, but this time will donate 1,500 hours of company labor coupled with a $750,000 donation to the U.S. Forest Service to help restore portions of the 2002 Hayman Fire, which burned across 138,000 acres southwest of Denver.
I’d like to think that the ski industry is beginning to understand the effect of global warming, and the real reasons we need to reduce our carbon footprint. But in the short term, buying credits is laudable if you keep it up. It’s okay to leverage it for publicity.
I think what really deserves respect are the ski areas installing their own wind turbines. They’re reducing our carbon footprint, getting lots of positive recognition, and saving themselves lots of money in the long run. That’s smart.