Killington is first to use cow power

22nd October 2012, by Abi Butcher

Manure from 13 dairy farms in Vermont will power the K-1 Express Gondola

Manure from 13 dairy farms in Vermont will power the K-1 Express Gondola

When you next reach for a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream, eat it in the knowledge that you are helping propel skiers up the mountain in Vermont.

The US resort of Killington is the largest in New England, with 752 acres of pistes and 22 lifts. This winter, it will also be the first ski resort in the world to use cow manure to power a ski lift.

Vermont is home to Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and renowned for its dairy cows. The K-1 Express Gondola will use electricity made from manure generated from 13 different farms in the region under the “Cow Power” programme.

Cow Power has been run by Green Mountain Power, New England’s largest utility company, for the past ten years. Farmers feed their cows’ manure into an anaerobic digester, which produces biogas that is used to power a natural gas engine to generate electricity.

Killington spokesman Sarah Thronson said it was a “win-win” situation for the resort: “We have the opportunity to support local farms and be more energy efficient — for the farmers, it’s pretty fantastic as well.”

The K-1 ski lift, which whisks skiers and boarders up the 1,293m Killington Peak, will use 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity over the season — all powered by cows.

According to Ms Thronson, Killington plans to expand the use of Cow Power in 2013 to light up the planned Killington Peak lodge when it is built.

The resort plans to open in late November, depending on snow conditions.

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