EEA Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
It's been much snowier this year than last with total accumulations reaching well over 70 inches in parts of the state (much more than last year's 35.7 total inches) – and there are a couple weeks of winter remaining. Many of you have taken to the slopes to enjoy the bounty of snowfall in local ski resorts such as Berkshire East and Jiminy Peak. Ski resorts depend on a variety of equipment that require electricity, such as ski lifts and snow makers, and both Berkshire East and Jiminy Peak have been pioneers in the clean energy field by installing wind turbines that reduce the amount of fossil fuel-based electricity they use to run their operations. In February 2011, Berkshire East became the world's first ski resort powered entirely by wind energy! Its leadership is inspiring several other resorts to explore the possibility of installing renewable energy and implementing energy efficiency programs.
On February 7, EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's (MassCEC) Executive Director Pat Cloney, State Representative Gale Cariddi, officials from the US Department of Agriculture and others joined the Schaefer family (owners of Berkshire East) to commission the resort's brand new 900 kW wind turbine. Several state and federal incentives helped finance the development of this project, including $440,000 in funding from the MassCEC. The wind turbine will stabilize energy costs for the resort and provide it with clean, renewable energy generated by the area's good wind resource. Roy Schaefer has managed the resort (a family business) for over 35 years while other resorts have gone out of business in large part due to rising energy costs. Berkshire East's wind turbine is a German-manufactured PowerWind56 and the first of its kind installed in the United States. The turbine will provide several environmental and community benefits such as eliminating over 1,400 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (or the equivalent of driving a car two million less miles or planting 85,000 trees annually), bringing new resources to local schools and the community (an educational station will be installed at Hawlemont School to monitor the turbine’s production), and donating Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to Hawlemont School to offset the school's yearly energy consumption. The Schaefers' vision and leadership will be good for business, the environment, and the community – and help us continue to enjoy a sport that will be threatened in Massachusetts if climate change continues unabated.
For more information on these projects: