Power generated by artificial-snow networks

Our concept :

To add value to existing artificial-snow infrastructure by installing turbines that can generate green energy periodically and when abundant at altitude (primarily when the snow melts).

An innovation that supports the sustainable development of ski resorts

A ski resort could generate renewable energy with infrastructure currently in place. Artificial-snow infrastructure has never been used to generate green energy.

Adding value to artificial-snow infrastructure

The infrastructure of a hydro-electric facility is the same as that of an artificial-snow network :

  • The water intake will be a hillside reservoir or a high-altitude river water intake.
  • The penstock will be the snow network’s water pipe.

The turbine will be integrated, as much as possible, into the existing snow-making production plant, at the bottom of the ski slopes. The construction of green-energy generation facilities requires work that often has an impact on the environment. In most cases, this work requires public authorisation.

Consequently, we would aim to use facilities that are already in place and are authorised to produce artificial snow in order to :

  • Minimise the impact of the works phase and encourage the public authorities and local people to accept the project;
  • Reduce investment costs and even optimise existing investments by using the facility over time;
  • Be ready to generate energy as quickly as possible.

Making use of the energy produced

The energy generated can be used on the ski area when required or injected into the distribution network with a certificate of origin to favour renewable energy supply contracts.

This green energy comes with a ‘green certificate’ that guarantees its origin; it is fully traceable and allows the path between the consumer and the producer to be revealed. It is a clean source of electricity that travels along the conventional route - the power grid - to reach those people who wish to use electricity that respects the environment.

In France, Law 2000-108 introduced, in particular, the obligation to purchase renewable power.

Performance and power of the machinery

Thanks to the altitude difference, a ski resort favours the use of a so-called ‘high head’ system: namely, a turbine adapted to high inlet pressure (> 20 bar).

The type of turbine that is most suitable for a high head scheme is a Pelton turbine. This hydraulic wheel recovers energy from water that is fed through one or more injectors and turns spoon-shaped buckets.

In the case of our mini power plant projects for snow network infrastructure, the Pelton turbines generally comprise one or two injectors and have an installed capacity of between 20 kW and 500 kW.

The capacity of these projects varies between 100 MWh and 2,000 MWh.

The mini power plant operator = the owner and the diversification of the business of artificial snow makers

If the ski area is operated directly by the local authority, it can make the investment, operate the facility and receive an income.

If the ski area is operated by a concessionaire, it must confirm the purpose of its public service delegation contract and, if the concession's remaining duration is long enough, it can make the investment, operate the facility and receive an income.

The generation of electricity will be separated from the production of artificial snow (separation of uses). Electricity generation requires the installations to be operated as well as ongoing maintenance during hydropower generation periods, which would enable snow producers to extend their business operations into other periods of the year and to spread out their activities.

Role of Hydrostadium

  • Hydrostadium offers to manage turnkey projects that include administrative procedures, studies, supplies, works and commissioning.
  • Hydrostadium would also be responsible for the predictive maintenance contract and the training of the operator.
  • Hydrostadium is developing this activity thanks to its contact with ski area development operators and, in particular, Domaines Skiables de France.