Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows to Install Tesla Batteries and Aim to be Using 100-Percent Renewable Energy by End of 2018

Steven Agar | | Industry NewsIndustry News
squaw valley alpine meadows, renewable, solar, energy
Solar panels in California. Credit: Wikipedia

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort announced last Wednesday that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with California based Liberty Utilities to identify energy resources to meet its goal of using 100 percent renewable, clean energy as soon as the end of the year, reports TahoeDailyTribune.comLiberty Utilities also plans to install enough Tesla batteries to supply the valley’s energy needs for up to 32 consecutive hours. The batteries will help by providing a backup option during outages and in assisting efforts to smooth out fluctuations in the electrical grid.

While more largely known for luxury electric cars, Tesla is seeking to expand its range further into stationary power grid storage projects. Under the Olympic Valley Microgrid Project plan, Liberty will install the batteries near the top of the Gold Coast Funitel at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The storage plan will need approvals from the California Public Utilities Commission and Placer County before installation.

Greg Sorensen, president of the utility’s west region, says they’re working with the resort leadership to develop new renewable energy generation, storage, and efficiency products to benefit resort and surrounding area south of Truckee, CA, specifically targetting development of new solar energy.

Resort President Andy Wirth says the announcement demonstrates that moving to all renewable energy “in the present tense — not a generation from now” is not only possible, it’s “entirely doable.”

The announcement comes as more resorts and mountain towns work to elevate the importance of climate change and its impacts. This past summer Vail Resorts, which owns and operates Heavenly and Kirkwood Mountain resorts and Northstar California, announced its “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint.” And they were joined by the recently named Alterra, who own Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and have been guiding their efforts down the clean energy, zero waste path for many years.

Squaw Valley, CA could soon be powered by 100% renewable energy. Credit: Alterra

The Vail project commits to zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.

In the past year, the city of South Lake Tahoe and the town of Truckee both made goals of reaching 100 percent renewable energy, and Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education also adopted green initiatives this past fall.

For Tesla, the Olympic Valley project would be a high-profile showcase for the utility-grade storage battery products it makes alongside Panasonic in the company’s Nevada Gigafactory. Tesla already has storage projects in American Samoa, Hawaii, Australia and Southern California. Tesla and Liberty are also working on a storage project in Alpine County, CA which could improve reliability in Markleeville.

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