World's first wind-powered ski resort likely to be first of many

A New England ski resort has become the first in the world to be completely powered by wind, as tourism destinations begin to clean up their act.

As of earlier this month, the US resort is using a 277 foot (84 meter) tall wind turbine to generate 2.2 million kWh of electricity every year, selling the excess energy to the nearby town of Charlemont.

According to the resort's manager, Roy Schaefer, that generation equates to a saving of over 1,400 tons of greenhouse gases every year, the equivalent of driving a car 2 million fewer miles or planting 85,000 trees annually.

Although the turbine was nearly three years in planning and cost approximately $3 million (€2.2 million) to install, Berkshire East's project could become a model for other resorts to generate their own power - PowerWind, the German firm that manufactured the turbine, says that it will further expand its business with communities like this one in the coming years.

It's another example of how resorts and hotels are trying to green their act in an attempt to attract environmentally-minded vacationers who want to be able to holiday with a conscience.

This has led to some creative ideas, such as those from conceptual 'green' artist Michael Jantzen, who has designed high-profile sun- and wind-powered desert hotels and ski resorts to showcase how alternative energy could be used in luxury facilities.

Jantzen told Green Lodging News last month that his North Slope Ski Hotel idea generated a bigger media reaction than anything he has ever done, and although finding developers to execute his futuristic projects appears to be proving tricky, it seems the tourism industry is beginning to incorporate green power in its buildings.

Last year, Crowne Plaza opened what it claimed was the world's greenest hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, which featured a groundwater-based cooling and heating system, solar panels which covered the building and even gym bikes that are hooked up to generators.

Travel and tourism association Skål backed up its claim in October at its annual ecotourism awards, bestowing the title of the world's greenest hotel on the property.

http://berkshireeast.com/

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