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:
Fish Need Clean Energy, Too posted on Feb 18
Running a fish farm is an intense operation, one that requires a lot of labor and a large amount of energy. Currently, the McLaughlin Hatchery uses a significant amount of oil to heat its facility. The facility is going to replace its oil furnace with a renewable energy heating system, a new high efficiency wood pellet boiler and pellet storage silo that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 92 percent, save an estimated $11,432 annually, and reduce annual oil use by more than 5,000 gallons.
Wood Pellets are the New Oil for Regional Schools Reducing Fuel Costs posted on Feb 12
Did you know that it is possible to heat buildings in the northeast using wood biomass, a renewable energy fuel? With nearly one-third of total energy costs going toward heating our buildings, it is no wonder that Massachusetts school districts are searching for cheaper and …Continue Reading Wood Pellets are the New Oil for Regional Schools Reducing Fuel Costs
Natural Wildlife Setting Enhanced by New Zero Net Energy Building posted on Feb 6
Constructing a commercial zero net energy building (ZNEB) is no easy task, especially one that is 45,000 square feet and sits in Massachusetts where the winters are cold and summers often hot and humid. This is why over 100 people gathered enthusiastically in December in …Continue Reading Natural Wildlife Setting Enhanced by New Zero Net Energy Building