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Ski resorts: how to reduce energy consumption of mechanical equipments ?

Schneekanone

Schneekanone: Wer nur auf Schnee und Ski setzt, forciert einen kapitalintensiven Tourismus, der weder klima- noch umweltverträglich ist © Cipra International

Since few dozen of years, as a common reorientation of the global economic sectors in the Alps, tourism took more and more importance in comparison to the others (agriculture, industry,…). In the Pays SUD (Serre Ponçon Ubaye Durance, France): 80% of employees are linked to tourism, and mainly to the winter ski activities.
Try to make this region avoided a too high global warming is an essential way to try to secure snow and employees for the coming years. But for a longer term perspective, a more global reflexion will be needed to prepare a needed economical conversion, meant by an unavoidable climate change that already starts.
While the two main sources of energy consumption (and Green House Gases – GHG – emissions) are transportation and building, the ski resort equipments (ski lifts, snow canons) had been clearly correlated to a pic of electrical consumption (and so production) early in the morning. This electricity has a higher CO2 content as the daily average, as it is produced in France with a higher contribution of fossils fuel power plants in the global electricity mix.
As a first step of a more global action plan that will concerns the other main GHG emissions sources, the Pays SUD starts during this winter season (2012-2013) the installation of electrical consumption measurement devices for ski resort equipments to identify possibility of energy saving.
This action had been selected as a gateway to motivated and group together many different economic stakeholders around a common plan of energy saving: politically, economically and socially more conciliatory, whatever the visions of the territorial development are.
Of course, this action as a first step will have to be followed by a broader and a more ambitious political development coherent program, harder to define and to implement, but essential for our common research target: to reduce GHG emissions from transportation and building.