Concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts Set To Install One Of Largest Solar Energy Systems In The Country
Death Valley Solar Photovoltaic System –Largest in Tourism Industry—Will Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions by More Than 30 Percent
Xanterra Parks & Resorts (www.xanterra.com) has announced it will install one of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems in the country – and thelargest system in the tourism industry – in Death Valley National Park , the sunniest place in the country. The one megawatt (MW) system will harness the sun’s energy to generate more than one-third of the annual electricity needs for Xanterra’s operations there, comprised of the Furnace Creek Inn, Ranch and golf course and employee offices and housing.
Xanterra’s system in Death Valley will be one of the largest privately owned PV energy systems in the country, and easily the largest in the U.S tourism industry. Xanterra, the country’s leading national and state park concessioner, will fully own the system and the energy it produces.
Over the next 30 years, Xanterra’s PV system will eliminate the emission of more than 284,000 tons of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, primary contributors to global warming, acid rain and smog. This is equal to planting more than 54,200 trees and removing more than 3,700 cars from California’s highways.
“This installation will result in significant benefits for the environment,” said Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts. “The sunny skies of Death Valley will make this system create a tremendous amount of energy while reducing greenhouse gases. With this single development, we will exceed President Bush’s new executive order – ‘Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management’ – that calls for a three percent annual reduction of energy intensity or a total 30 percent reduction by the end of fiscal year 2015 relative to fiscal year 2003. And, obviously, reducing the amount of energy we purchase will reduce our operating costs.”
Xanterra has contracted with SPG Solar Inc. of Novato, Calif. for the installation. SPG Solar has installed more than 500 commercial and residential PV systems tied to electric grids.
The company expects the system to be completed and operational by March 2008. The 1 MW system will produce more than two million kilowatt-hours per year of clean renewable energy – enough to power more than 400 average-sized American homes – and will require virtually no maintenance.
“There is no more critical environmental issue in corporate today than weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels to reduce associated greenhouse gas pollution and promote energy independence,” saidChris Lane, vice president of environmental affairs for Xanterra. “This system, larger than six football fields, will be one of the most salient examples of Xanterra’s commitment to environmental protection.” Company-wide since 2000, Xanterra has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent through efficiency and conservation measures. This new solar PV system will help the company exceed a 20 percent gross reduction in greenhouse gases.
In addition to Death Valley National Park, Xanterra operates lodges, restaurants and other concessions in national and state parks and resorts throughout the country including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Crater Lake National Parks.
Xanterra has become recognized as an environmental leader in the hospitality industry. The company has already exceeded its reduction target in greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) emissions through a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and its Climate Saver program; received the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification twice; published the first national park hospitality Sustainability Report; published and implemented its ownGuidelines for Environmentally Sustainable Design and Construction of buildings in national parks; received the ISO 14001 International Environmental Management System Standard Certification for all of its national park operations; and developed many other tourism industry leading standards.
Xanterra also has created its “2015 Environmental Vision” with ambitious company-wide goals of decreasing fossil fuel usage by 30 percent (baseline year 2000), increasing usage of renewable energy to provide seven percent of total electricity consumed, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent (baseline year 2000), diverting from landfill 50 percent of all solid waste generated, increasing purchases of sustainable food items to 50 percent of all food expenditures, achieving CAFÉ (corporate average fuel economy) standard of 35 miles per gallon (EPA rated combined city and highway) for all passenger vehicles (under 10 persons) purchased annually, generating zero hazardous waste and decreasing water usage by 25 percent (baseline year 2003).