Cannon Mountain Upgrades for More Snow This Year

Valerie Eacret, ERS, for Zondits

Cannon Mountain, a ski area in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is making a number of significant changes to its snowmaking equipment and energy supply systems in preparation for the next ski season. The plans for the upgrades indicate that the operation will use only two-thirds of its current energy usage while allowing the mountain to make 50% more snow.

Almost 400 high-efficiency, high-output snow guns, a new booster pump house, a more efficient primary power-supply line, and new high- and low-voltage transformers are being installed to provide cost and energy savings. In addition to the impressive energy savings potential, Cannon Mountain has also managed to make this project happen at a “net zero project cost.” This may all seem too good to be true, and it might be – but it’s certainly possible that these lofty claims will come to fruition. While high-efficiency snow gun projects have the potential to save enormous amounts of energy – completed projects have saved 50% to over 90% of pre-installation usage while simultaneously increasing snow production – realized savings are heavily dependent on natural snowfall, along with a number of other variables mentioned in this white paper.

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Cannon Mountain gets OK for major energy-efficiency project that will let it make more snow for less

Union Leader, July 24, 2016

Come this ski season, Cannon Mountain, thanks to several major upgrades, will reduce its energy usage by a third while adding 50 percent more snowmaking capability at no additional cost.

Cannon officials on Wednesday confirmed that on July 13, Gov. Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council approved a request by the Department of Resources and Economic Development to enter into a Master Lease/Purchase agreement with Pinnacle Public Finance in the amount of $5,907,512 to cover the cost of a contract with Ameresco Inc. of Framingham, Mass.

Hassan and the Executive Council then approved a second request from DRED and Cannon to enter a contract with Ameresco to “install and enact energy efficiency and conservation measures” for both Cannon’s snowmaking and energy-supply systems.

Although the contract with Ameresco extends only through Nov. 30, 2017, the company has guaranteed that for five years after the project acceptance date, Cannon, according to the contract, “will realize energy and cost savings” of $386,565 annually. The energy savings will offset the annual bonding costs, resulting in what was described in the requests as a “net zero project cost.” In addition to the initial five years, the state can expand the guaranteed savings period for three more five-year periods for a total of 20 years.

Ameresco will install 388 high efficiency/high output snow guns, Rose wrote, as well as a new booster pump house to add “up to 50 percent more water output at a lower energy output and cost,” in addition to installing “a new and more efficient primary power supply line and high- and low-voltage transformers.”

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