Brian Fairbank, an owner of Jiminy Peak Resort in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, is ecstatic over the decision he and his partners made to spend $3.9 million to put up a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine at the resort just over three years ago.

"It's the best thing I ever did," Fairbank told OnTheSnow. "Here are the comparatives. We spent $4 million to put it up, and get $600,000 in offsets every year on it, and if I can do that, I'm a happy camper.

"It's great for our image, great for financial stability, and great to be doing something that's noticed by everybody," he said.

The turbine went on line Aug. 15, 2007 and has produced one-third of Jiminy's electric power ever since.

The decision to tap into wind power was driven by longstanding commitment by the owners to environmental responsibility, and by the simple economics of helping to stabilize energy costs.

The wind turbine, named Zephyr, has a 253-foot-tall tower topped by a nacelle, or housing for gearbox, generator, and blade assembly. The three blades are each 123 feet long.

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative gave Jiminy a grant for $582,000 for the project. The wind turbine offsets 7.1 million pounds of CO2, 33,000 pounds of SOx, and 10,000 pounds of NOx.

Jiminy also receives federal tax rebates and renewable energy credits to help offset the $3.9 million cost of the project. The turbine produces electricity year round, with Jiminy's peak use coming during the winter months. Excess electricity is sold back into the grid. Payback on the investment is expected to take seven to eight years.

The photo across the banner for our OnTheSnow Green Guide and accompanying this story shows skiers enjoying the slopes in front of the wind turbine at Jiminy Peak.

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