Berkshire East Ski Area in Massachusetts has become the first ski area in the world to generate more than 100% of its power onsite thanks to wind power. The independent ski business, owned by the Schaefer family, installed the wind turbine in order to combat rising power costs. This week, they celebrated the installation of the PowerWind56, the resort’s new 900kW wind turbine which makesthe resort completely sustainable. The event was attended by national, state and local dignitaries who celebrated the resort’s onsite wind power generator.

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Berkshire’s new 900-kilowatt wind turbine was made possible by state and federal grants including $440,000 from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which administers the state’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund. In fact, public trust funds for land preservation have been popular for years, so public support for environmentally beneficial alternative energy programs is not unfamiliar. The installation of the wind turbine was made possible by  state and federal grants. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center provided a total of $440,000 in grants to the wind project, which also completely reduces the resort’s carbon footprint.

The Schaefer family have owned the resort for over 35 years, which is a rare thing due to rising energy costs. But it was five years ago the family reached a crossroads when they came off a fixed five-year energy contract, at which point fuel prices tripled. In order to combat this, brothers Jim Schaefer (senior partner at UBS and current head of their recently announced Alternative Energy Group) and Jon Schaefer (the resort’s assistant General Manager), explored renewable options. A study discovered that the German-manufactured PowerWind56 was an ideal match for the resort’s needs.

“We hope to be the perfect model of how the PowerWind56 will satisfy the needs of community wind projects across the nation,” said Jon Schaefer. “It will eliminate over 1,400 tons of the greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere every year – that’s the equivalent of driving a car 2 million less miles or planting 85,000 trees annually.”

+ Berkshire East Ski Resort

via Business Wire

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