AAA  Aug. 20, 2014 12:15 PM ET
Snow gun exchange program to help energy costs
WVPS-FM
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(AP) — Ski resorts in Vermont are upgrading their snowmaking equipment with help from a statewide energy efficiency program.

Efficiency Vermont is offering rebates from $500 to up to $4,000 in a snow gun exchange program.

Jim Merriam, executive director of Efficiency Vermont, told Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1rm1hlz) nearly every resort in the state is taking part in what he believes is a first-of-its-kind program. Resorts trade in four older snow guns for every five new energy efficient ones they buy.

The deal pushed Killington resort to boost its investment in snowmaking equipment, said Dave Lacombe, head of snowmaking.

"We're purchasing about $2 million worth of snow guns this year, which is a huge, huge deal to us," he said.

Merriam said the hope is to replace between 2,000 and 3,000 older snow guns with ones that are 85 percent to 90 percent more efficient and save utility costs. The old ones will be scrapped and proceeds would be donated to the Vermont Ski Areas Association's Learn to Ski and Ride programs.

"Our total delivery is going to be 645 new low energy snow guns," said Dave Meeker of Mount Snow. "But the great thing is our entire fleet of nearly 1,000 guns — after this exchange — is going to be entirely low energy."

The program is funded by a surcharge that Vermont utility customers pay to support Efficiency Vermont. Merriam said everyone will benefit from energy savings.

"So, at any point in time that we can bring down the overall system load, everyone benefits because we don't need to build infrastructure either in the form of generating new electricity or more electricity or we don't have to upgrade the equipment that's there," he said.

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Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net

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