Snow making, road clearing and other diesel-fuelled machinery at Cairngorm Mountain is set to be powered by biofuel in the new year in a move which is expected to cut carbon emissions from the equipment by up to 90%.
Operator, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Limited (CMSL), has issued a tender to biofuel traders on the National Fuels Framework to supply the centre with hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), as a replacement for diesel.
HVO is described as “a second-generation biofuel made from renewable, sustainable raw materials.”
It’s the latest Scottish ski area to increase its use of renewable energy. Nevis Range introduced its own hydro-electric plant to cover its energy needs several years ago and The Lecht uses a wind turbine to power its all-weather snowmaking system.
Last year Cairngorm introduced a TechnoAlpin Snowfactory all-weather snowmaking system and added eight new snow cannons but these currently run off diesel-powered generators as an interim measure until the mains electricity supply can be upgraded.
CMSL plans to replace the diesel with HVO by the end of December. HVO will also be used in the centre’s two road-clearing Unimog trucks and CMSL has approached the manufacturer of its new piste grooming vehicle for confirmation that it too can be run on HVO.
Susan Smith, CMSL interim chief executive, says making greater use of green energy is very much part of the company’s plans for the future. She said:
“At Cairngorm we are ever conscious of our carbon footprint and constantly looking at ways to reduce this,” said Susan Smith, CMSL interim chief executive, “Snow making has become hugely important for the Scottish snow sports sector. We are absolutely thrilled to have identified a fossil-free fuel made from renewable, sustainable raw materials that can power our diesel run equipment.”
“Ultimately, we want to have all the snow making equipment at Cairngorm running off electricity, which will require an upgrade of the mains supply network. SSEN is carrying out a feasibility study into different needs in the area. Once this is complete we will be clearer about the options for Cairngorm,” added Dave MacLeod, head of property and infrastructure at HIE
Mr MacLeod said Cairngorm are also reviewing the potential to generate energy at Cairngorm from renewable sources such as hydro, wind and solar.”