Snowbird Introduces Snowbird Power Systems: Efficient Mountain Energy

It is with great excitement that Snowbird introduces Snowbird Power Systems: a network of facilities that allow the resort to efficiently meet up to 100% of its power needs. The majority of this system is comprised of a new cogeneration facility, set to open in late June. This replaces an older cogeneration system that was installed in 1987, making Snowbird the only ski resort in North America and the third in the world to have such a facility. 

Snowbird worked with Caterpillar Inc. and Wheeler Power Systems, a Division of Wheeler Machinery Co., to complete the project, using a new 5.3 megawatt cogeneration system anchored by three Caterpillar gas generator sets to operate. The new Snowbird Power Systems facility will allow Snowbird to make its own power, and then recycle the waste heat created from power production to warm its buildings and water rather than use new energy sources.

“The creation of Snowbird Power Systems means we have not only updated our stand-alone power grid, ensuring we can be self-reliant, but we have also reinforced Snowbird’s Play Forever corporate responsibility commitment to the environment by becoming more efficient,” states Snowbird President and General Manager Dave Fields. “Snowbird Power Systems allows us to save 62,000 dekatherms of natural gas a year—the equivalent of removing the carbon dioxide emissions from burning over 4 million pounds of coal.”

Snowbird Power Systems is getting an upgrade with a new cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), facility. By rebuilding and relocating Snowbird's cogeneration facility, we can bring more efficient and reliable energy to the mountain. 

The Previous Plant

Snowbird's original cogeneration plant started running in October of 1986 and is the only existing cogeneration facility at a ski resort in North America. The facility was acknowledged as a world-renowned engineering feat.

The cogeneration plant takes waste heat given off by electricity-producing engines and uses that heat to warm the building and water at The Cliff Lodge. The original cogeneration plant offsets the majority of the power needs for The Cliff Lodge along with the east village.

New & Improved

The new Snowbird Power Systems facility will cover nearly all of the energy needs of the entire resort including The Cliff Lodge, Snowbird Center, The Aerial Tram and the other chairlifts.

Snowbird Power Systems will reduce Snowbird's dependency on the traditional electrical grid, meaning that Snowbird will be almost entirely energy independent, more efficient and coal free.

Snowbird is an awarded industry environmental leader, recently receiving the Gold RCI Green Award for its sustainable hospitality practices, as well as being named one of “America’s 10 Most Eco-Friendly Ski Resorts,” by Outside Online. Other successful Play Forever initiatives include a glass recycling program, a new composting program, extensive work to protect the Little Cottonwood Canyon watershed and its Buy A Pass, Plant a Tree program.

A ribbon-cutting event for the Snowbird Power System facility will be held on Friday, July 9, 2021, featuring speeches by key stakeholders, facility tours and light refreshments. Limited media spots will be available upon invite and request. Please contact Snowbird’s Communications Manager, Sarah Sherman, for more information.


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