28 February 2009

Windmill saves ski resort $450k/year

More land-using organizations should start putting up wind turbines, if the results from Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock MA is any indication. Putting up a single turbine is saving them $450,000 per year, around 1/3 of their energy bill. Fortunately for them, the windmill produces the most electricity during the winter when it's the most windy, and seeing as they're a sky resort it's also when they use the most electricity (primarily due to their snow-making machines). (I can't help but think that if more companies used turbines, that we'd slow global warming and ski resorts wouldn't need to make fake snow as much.)

Also interestingly during the summer months the turbine produces more electricity than the Jiminy Peak uses. It appears they have not actually worked out a buy-back program for the excess electricity (where their utility company would actually pay *them* if they produced more electricity than they used), so instead the excess power goes into the grid - where it is then used up by local residents, reducing their reliance on the power company, on fossil fuels (coal burning is the primary source of electricity even in the Northeast US), and even their electricity bills. So this project has helped not only the ski resort, but also the local community.

Just don't tell the bats - the action of the turbine results in extremely low pressure air behind the turbine, which then results in internal bleeding. Shame that every improvement in one field leads to a problem in another. Time will tell whether the net good outweighs the net bad.