Proud Green Power Partner since 2009
Xanterra Travel Collection® has been recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Partner (GPP) every year since 2009.
In the words of our President and CEO Andy Todd, “We believe that increasing the sustainability of natural systems is not just good business – it’s the right thing to do.” One result of that mentality is our longstanding commitment to reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and other emissions through procuring renewable energy.
Xanterra Travel Collection® has been recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Partner (GPP) every year since 2009. This program requires that we source at least 10% of our electricity from green/renewable sources every year. In 2021 we used 11.1% green power, but have averaged 16.7% since 2009. We’ve accomplished this by first working to reduce our electricity consumption, then developing on-site solar arrays (a few of which are described here), working with our local utilities to elect green power when we have the option, and finally by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to support green energy production other places in the country when we aren’t able to generate enough ourselves.
One example of working directly with a utility to procure green power is the Renewable Ready program offered by Black Hills Energy, the electricity provider for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. We were early supporters of this program and enrolled to source all of our purchased electricity from the new Corriedale Wind Farm that BHE completed in January, 2020 near Cheyenne, WY for this purpose. In 2021, 46% of the power we used at Mount Rushmore was from our on-site solar array and the remaining 54% came from this wind farm. (We also buy carbon offsets for all of the scope 1 emissions at Mount Rushmore, making it a carbon neutral operation).
Xanterra continuously works to develop and procure renewable energy sources. The best way to do that at most of our locations is through on-site solar. Constructing anything, especially modern energy sources, on and around protected historic buildings and historic and culturally significant viewsheds can be difficult. But reducing the environmental impact of our operations and protecting the long-term health of these pristine ecosystems requires that we try. Prior to 2018, Xanterra had five solar installations totaling 62 kW capacity at Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, and the Grand Canyon Railway; plus a sixth 1,000 kW array at The Oasis at Death Valley.
Since then, Xanterra has constructed four more arrays totaling 444 kW at Grand Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Yellowstone National Park; plus The Oasis at Death Valley was upgraded to 1,700 kW capacity. This totals over 2,206 kW current capacity, which generated 2,605,626 kWh of clean electricity in 2021. This is enough to provide electricity for 243 average American homes and meets over 6% of Xanterra’s electricity needs.
In addition to on-site solar, Xanterra is pursuing additional options for procuring zero-emission energy. For example, starting in 2020, Xanterra at Mount Rushmore National Memorial signed a power purchase agreement with the local utility to source 100% of its electricity needs not met by the on-site solar array from a regional wind farm. At Zion National Park, we certified Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), which are the renewable energy attributes of power generated somewhere else. Including these two sources of renewable power, over 11% of Xanterra’s electricity is purchased from renewable sources. Plus, emissions from the electricity that we buy from the grid continue to decrease as renewables represent a larger percentage of the generation mix.
Discover more of Xanterra’s Softer Footprint™ here.