Aspen Invests Big in Colo. Alternative Energy Plant - Ski Mag

Aspen Invests Big in Colo. Alternative Energy Plant

Methane emissions could power four resorts.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) is footing 90 per cent of the bill to construct a power plant that will turn methane emissions into electricity from Elk Creek Coal Mine in Somerest, Colo.  Once constructed, the plant will produce 25 million kW of electricity per year, about the same amount needed to power ASC’s four resorts.

As of now, the mine’s methane gas is released into the atmosphere as waste product. Harmful to the environment, methane gas is twenty times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It can remain in the atmosphere for 9 to 15 years, making it one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.

Eight years ago, Auden Schendler, VP of sustainability at ASC, along with energy expert, Randy Udall and Tom Vessels, creator of the Coal Mine Methane Coalition, visited a coal mines in western Colorado to see if their idea to turn methane into energy was feasible.

After years of planning and negotiations, ASC finalized contracts last week to have the plant operating by September.

“This project is an incredible bang for your buck,” said Schendler. “We would have to spend half a billion dollars on solar energy to get equivalent CO2 benefits.” In past, ASC has conducted smaller scale projects to reduce its carbon footprint but Schendler says it’s time to make a larger statement.

“We’re working with major trade groups so they become a major voice on climate change in the outdoor industry,” Schendler says. “We’re getting everyone - coalminers, environmentalists, politicians – to work together to address and fix the issue of climate change.”

Related

Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum

A family friendly gallery space complete with coloring supplies.

2015 Top Ski Towns: Aspen, Colorado tout

2015 Top Ski Towns: Aspen, Colorado

Ski bums of all ages may be working three jobs to pay their way in this pricey resort town, but on a powder morning, you’ll find them in the Aspen gondola line.

Updating Aspen FT

Updating Aspen Lodging

This town's iconic lodging scene enjoys a nip/tuck of its own.

Locals Guide to Aspen Tout

Local's Guide to Aspen, Colorado

It sure seems like it’s all glam and glitz, but don’t let this iconic ski town fool you.

aspen_thumb.jpg

Aspen Highlands Extends the Season to April 26

"We have the snow, so we're going skiing."

Tip Sheet: Highland Bowl tout

Tip Sheet: Highland Bowl, Colo.

This Aspen Highlands extreme terrain is a rite of passage for any serious skier. Here’s how to do it well.

Aspen Town at Night

"Big Money" Causes Big Problems

Dan Sheridan, a singer-songwriter in Aspen, was fired then rehired after performing a song about Aspen's shift from a ski bum town to a luxury resort village.

Woody Creek Tavern

Woody Creek Tavern

Hunter S. Thompson's old hangout.