Friday, August 22, 2008

Wind Energy Pays Off

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Hancock, Massachusetts, became the first privately-owned business in North America to own a wind turbine when it started operating August 15, 2007, fulfilling three primary goals: 1) to reduce their dependency on non-renewable energy by 24%; 2) protect the long-term viability of Jiminy Peak as a resort and therefore help to assure stable jobs not at the risk of changes in power prices; and 3) show business communities everywhere the value of taking the initiative rather than waiting for someone else to provide solutions.

Celebrating its first birthday this month, the turbine, named the Zephyr, is a 1.5 megawatt turbine capable of producing up to 2,000 horse power for Jiminy Peak’s snowmaking plant. Generating a massive 4,600,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) a year, the Zephyr reduces the resorts annual consumption of 9,404289 kilowatt hours by 24.5%, eliminating the need for 383,000 gallons of diesel fuel generated power.

After much research and collection of wind data, Jiminy proved to be the perfect location for such a turbine, as it produces significant wind in the winter when Jiminy consumes 60% of its annual energy use. Total costs for the turbine amounted to $3.9 million, which was offset by a renewable energy grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in the amount of $582,000. The financing of the project includes contracting with Community Energy, Inc., a leading national wind energy marketer and project developer, to sell Renewable Energy Credits generated by the turbine, allowing CEI to provide their customers with another product choice to help keep the world clean and sustainable.

Conception to installation took 36 months. Aside from the enormous challenge of building the turbine on the side of the mountain, almost a mile of underground wiring had to be installed from the turbine to Jiminy’s buildings and machinery at the base.

The Zephyr is built to be around for quite a while having a design life of 30 to 50 years. Electrical and structural components have a much longer design life. As Jiminy continues to reap the rewards of generating its own electricity, owner Brian Fairbanks may add a second turbine to the eastern side of the mountain to continue to reduce the electric bills of the resort and lessen their reliance on fossil fuels.

More importantly is the good example it’s setting. “The future of the Earth is something we collectively hold in our hands,” Brian H. Fairbanks, President and CEO, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort. “I hope our work here gets everyone to think about our planet and take action in their own communities.”

If you’re planning to build a green home, you, too, can take advantage of wind energy. Bonin Architects specializes in energy efficient home plans and incorporating renewable energy systems. See a list of the green home design services we provide. Click to learn more about wind turbines for green homes.
Planning to be in the Berkshires soon? Zephyr tours are scheduled in September and October. For tour details and more information on the wind turbine at Jiminy, click on Zephyr.

Jackie Lampiasi, Marketing Director

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