Clean Energy for Tourism: Management and Optimisation of Electricity Consumption in Ski Resorts

by Oxana Schmidt

The final consortium meeting of the NEFI project Clean Energy for Tourism (#CE4T) took place from 19-20 September 2022. In this project, Salzburg ski resorts, as well as technology and research partners such as the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, BEST, Faradis, World Direct, Sattler Energie Consulting and the Montanuniversität Leoben, led by Salzburg AG, investigated opportunities for applying energy system flexibility, CO₂ mitigation options - as well as energy savings, in addition to the increasing the amount of integration of local renewable energy generation in ski resorts.

The final results of a demonstrator were presented at this meeting. This involved the investigation of the most energy-efficient operations for the low season (summer). Assessments explored whether  the usual speed with a few gondolas should be maintained or whether they should operate more slowly with more gondolas. The project results clearly showed that operating with more gondolas at lower speeds consumes significantly less energy.

Another project outcome was a dashboard that provides ski resorts with a monitoring system that shows their energy consumption and, in addition, provides them with an opportunity to report their snowmaking needs to the energy supplier in advance, thus enabling cheaper procurement of this energy. The dashboard was developed in close cooperation with the ski resorts during the project. The current version, presented at the consortium meeting, will also be available to the ski areas after the end of the project. Furthermore, the partners were individually informed about savings opportunities through investments in storage technologies and renewable energy in their area.

Feedback on the project process was collected and discussed in a survey within the consortium. The exchange took place both regionally between the ski areas and between research and industry. The exchange and joint learning were viewed by participants as being particularly valuable.

The results showed that a lot had already been done for energy efficiency in the ski resorts before the project started. The results showed that the use of flexibilities can lead to CO₂ savings and cost reductions to a limited extent, however the potential for this will grow due to rising energy prices.

The investigations in the project have shown that flexibilities of 6 MW per year are available, but these are subject to certain fluctuations in the course of the year. The energy-economic opportunities arising from these flexibilities were already examined and discussed in more detail in an earlier meeting.

Participation in energy communities is interesting for those ski areas that are not large companies and was additionally dealt with in the project, as the corresponding legal framework conditions only emerged in the course of the project. All ski areas showed great interest in using local renewable energy sources and thus not only increasing the share of renewable energy, but also relieving the grid through local generation.

Finally, at the end of the meeting, the Kaprun pumped storage power plant was visited and the advantages of using flexibility through this power plant were presented to the project team.