Originally Posted by Garrett
Did we run out of copper or aluminum? If they are doing this in places where there are developments like lifts or roads, the only excuse is being cheap.
Well, Kirkwood is nearly 40 miles from the nearest grid connection, with the only access being through National Forest lands and along a designated national scenic highway for many miles. That means environmental impact statements that have mandated any electric lines be buried underground and constructed in the Highway right-of-way. For a relatively small private ski area, the cost of excavating 40 miles of roadway and burying electric cable, transformers and other required cooling and insulating equipment for high voltage underground power transmission is incredible.
None-the-less, Diesel power at $3.00+/gallon is not cost effective and Kirkwood in recent years has indicated it is willing to finance the project, hopefully with some sharing from Alpine County, National Forest Service and other entities. Ironically environmentalists are opposed to the construction of the electric line because it will facilitate the build-out and development of Kirkwood. This Master Development Plan was finally just approved by the Forest Service this year in November after being in hearings since 1999. The environmentalist next best hope is to block the construction permits for the electric easement by holding up the process in environmental review as long as they can. In that respect, the use of diesel engines at Kirkwood is in large part because environmentalists force that to be the case.
Paradoxically, if the facility manages to tie into the grid, it will become one of the largest holders of greenhouse gas emission reduction credits (as well as NOx, PM, CO) of any ski area. And these will represent REAL reductions, not just tree planting.