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Come next winter, skiing at two Lake Tahoe resorts won’t drive up emissions that threaten to melt the industry’s future.
Squaw Valley Ski Corp. plans to source all its electricity from solar and other renewable sources as soon as December.
That would make the company, which owns two resorts in California, the first ski operator in the U.S. to power its operations without fossil fuels, President Andy Wirth said in an interview.
Few businesses are as vulnerable to the impact of climate change as ski resorts. Rising temperatures, droughts and violent storms all wreck havoc with profits on the slopes. Other resorts that have committed to sourcing 100 percent of their energy from clean sources include Vail Resorts Inc., which has set a target of 2030. Aspen Skiing Co. has solar panels on site.
“Solar power has come down in cost so much that it’s accessible now,” Wirth said. “It’s a purely economic decision. And it’s also about how we operate sustainably long into the future.”
Liberty Utilities, a unit of Ontario’s Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., operates the grid for much of the Tahoe region and will supply some of the power to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows with two solar farms in Nevada with a combined capacity of 60 megawatts.