Lift tickets a part of Vail energy strategy |

Lift tickets a part of Vail energy strategy

Amanda Fehd

With the announcement Tuesday it will offset all of its energy use with wind power, Vail Resorts is offering customers a free lift ticket if they do the same.

For $15 per month, a household can offset its energy use by purchasing wind power credits from Colorado-based Renewable Choice Energy and receive one free lift ticket to any of Vail’s five resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly.

Individuals can pay $5 per month for a reduced-price $20 ticket. To sign up, go to

Blaise Carrig, chief operating officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort, said he just purchased his this week.

“Everybody can sign up,” he said. “The power is purchased nationally, and it goes back into the grid.”

Renewable Choice is a national retailer of wind energy that connects wind farms with energy buyers.

“Our whole goal is to drive new development of wind products,” said the company’s CEO Quayle Hodek.

“It helps wind farms plan. As they are looking to build a new wind project, they need to know that they will have buyers,” Hodek said.

Three things are driving the wind power market: demand from corporate and residential buyers, federal tax credits, and simple market forces. Rising fossil fuel prices mean wind is now only marginally more expensive than traditional sources.

“The costs to produce wind power have fallen by 80 percent in the last 20 years,” he said.

Wind energy facts

— Production: 25 billion kilowatt hours in 2006, enough to serve more than 2.3 million households

— Makes up 0.6 percent of U.S. electricity generation

— Annual growth rate: 29 percent over last five years

— There are wind farms in 30 states

— One wind turbine is enough to power 300 homes

— One turbine can generate $2,000 income per year to a landowner or farmer, who can continue to grow crops on the land.

— unlike fossil fuels, wind power is “inflation proof” and prices are generally not affected by market volatility

— New, larger turbines generate 120 times as much electricity as 1980s models at one-sixth the cost

— Industry goals: provide 6 percent of nation’s energy by 2020.


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