Full Content is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >

Feasibility Study of Distributed Energy Generation at a Colorado Ski Resort

[+] Author Affiliations
Moncef Krarti

University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO

Paper No. ES2015-49129, pp. V002T16A002; 7 pages
  • ASME 2015 9th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2015 Power Conference, the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, and the ASME 2015 Nuclear Forum
  • Volume 2: Photovoltaics; Renewable-Non-Renewable Hybrid Power System; Smart Grid, Micro-Grid Concepts; Energy Storage; Solar Chemistry; Solar Heating and Cooling; Sustainable Cities and Communities, Transportation; Symposium on Integrated/Sustainable Building Equipment and Systems; Thermofluid Analysis of Energy Systems Including Exergy and Thermoeconomics; Wind Energy Systems and Technologies
  • San Diego, California, USA, June 28–July 2, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5685-7
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


The ski industry in Colorado is the largest in the United States and makes up a significant portion of the state’s tourism revenue, but changes in the climate threaten the future of this highly weather-dependent business. In recent years, many ski resorts have taken steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to mitigate the effects shorter winters, less snowfall, and continued drought are having on the future viability of the industry. Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects are common strategies to reduce emissions; less common, however, are resort-wide analyses of distributed generation (DG) systems combining traditional and alternative energy sources. The intent of this study is to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of a hybrid conventional-renewable DG system at Vail Resort.

Electrical and thermal loads for Vail’s mountain operations were used to analyze three DG technologies; combined heat and power (CHP), photovoltaics (PV), and horizontal axis wind turbines. Technologies were chosen based on a resource assessment as well as input from site managers and analyzed using the Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewables (HOMER). The results indicate that the most cost-competitive DG system is a 700 kilowatt (kW) natural gas-fired CHP plant used to meet the site’s base load during the summer months. Although CHP systems are generally most effective at displacing conventional grid-based power for facilities with little seasonal load variation, the findings of this study align closely with an existing system at Snowbird Resort in Utah.

A small 700 kW CHP system could provide approximately 31% of annual electricity use and 24% of annual thermal energy needs based on the energy model used in this analysis. Furthermore, annual energy costs could be reduced by 3% and carbon emissions by 11%. Additional analyses are needed to more precisely determine the optimal system for Vail and the authors recommend that future studies include the energy use from base operations in addition to the mountain area considered in this analysis. The additional base area energy load during the summer could potentially make a larger CHP system more viable with subsequent cost and carbon emission savings. Additionally, site-specific resource data such as biomass production and ridge top wind speeds could aid in more definitively eliminating these technologies from consideration.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



Interactive Graphics


Country-Specific Mortality and Growth Failure in Infancy and Yound Children and Association With Material Stature

Use interactive graphics and maps to view and sort country-specific infant and early dhildhood mortality and growth failure data and their association with maternal

Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In