A component of Big Sky Resort’s Big Picture initiative would install keycardbased thermostats that regulate in-room temperature when guests are out. PHOTO BY CODY WHITMER

ForeverProject

Boyne Resorts transition to 100% renewable electric energy

On Tuesday, Boyne Resorts announced a purchase commitment with CMS Enterprises, a CMS energy subsidiary, that 100% offsets electric energy at all Boyne resorts and facilities in North America as of Jan. 1.

This switch to 100% renewable electric energy is made possible by sourcing purchases of renewable energy credits (RECs), building a 1.7-megawatt solar array at Boyne Mountain in Michigan and strengthening relationships with suppliers that are committed to renewable energy. Big Sky Resort was included in the REC purchases.

CMS Enterprises develops, owns and operates utility-scale wind, solar and energy projects and will assist Boyne in capturing RECs, which “help Boyne substantiate renewable energy use claims and maximize value for its renewable energy investment,” a Feb. 2 press release from Boyne Resorts stated.

This move is in alignment with Boyne’s announcement of ForeverProject, the company’s longterm sustainability plan, which has the same goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2030 as Big Sky Resort’s Big Picture initiative launched at the beginning of 2020.

“Our commitments guiding ForeverProject, starting with moving to 100% renewable electric energy, reduce a significant portion of our carbon footprint and give us a huge head start on our efforts to become completely carbon neutral by 2030,” Stephen Kircher, president and CEO of Boyne Resorts, said in the press release. “We have always tried to take the long-term perspective on our business and this environmental sustainability initiative steps up our efforts to positively affect the lasting implications our resorts, team members and guests have on the planet.”

Both ForeverProject and the Big Picture include methods to reduce physical and energy waste; collaborating with local utility suppliers to find opportunities to reduce energy and fuel use, and getting rid of plastic water bottles and replacing disposable dishware with reusable options. Boyne’s collaboration with CMS pushed the goal of net zero forward by reducing the company’s carbon footprint via electrical usage by 70%.

The press release attributed a new level of urgency to the Oct. 2019 Mountain Towns 2030 Net Zero Summit and the rollout of the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Sustainable Slopes initiative. Following the summit, which was sponsored by Boyne, Boyne and CMS began working more rapidly towards a clean energy arrangement. Big Sky Resort joined NSAA’s climate challenge in 2019.

“Through implementation of energy efficiency programs, the electrification of Boyne’s vehicle fleet, on-site solar generation and other advances on tap in Michigan, Boyne Resorts is poised to become an industry leader in clean and renewable energy and sustainability,” DV Rao, senior vice president of strategy for CMS Energy, said in the press release.

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