Jiminy Peak Owners Start New Energy Venture

By Jen ThomasiBerkshires Staff
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Tyler Fairbank, left, Brian Fairbank and Kevin Schulte.
HANCOCK - Inspired by the success of Zephyr, the first and only privately-owned, megawatt-class turbine in the nation for on-site energy usage, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort owners Brian H. Fairbank and Joseph O'Donnell will embark on a new business venture.

Led by former Berkshire Economic Development Corp. President Tyler Fairbank, the new corporation - Eos Ventures LLC - is being touted as a "renewable energy company providing turnkey renewable on-site power generation solutions to larger-scale energy users."

"We want to provide a one-stop resource for businesses who want to look at sustainability and renewable energy. There are currently a number of large-scale producers who do not have the expertise or the capital and that's where Eos comes in," Tyler Fairbank, the new company's chief executive office and Brian's son, said at a news conference Thursday.

The new business will be housed at Jiminy Peak and will initially operate using only wind energy projects, although biofuels, biomass and other renewable technologies will be part of its long-term plans.

Working in collaboration with Sustainable Energy Development Inc., a wind energy project developer and wind resource specialist based in Ontario, N.Y., Eos already has some projects in the pipeline, though the partners did not divulge any details.

Kevin Schulte, SED's co-founder and the vice president of business development, said he was grateful that Brian Fairbank and O'Donnell had taken a chance on his company when searching for someone to install Zephyr and he was looking forward to a successful enterprise ahead.

"Eos is looking beyond Zephyr and Jiminy Peak. They're looking beyond that and they're looking to expand that model throughout the region," said Schulte, who also explained that SED will be the general contractor for Eos' wind projects.<R2>

With the slogan "Alternative Energy. Everyone Knows Why, We Know How," Eos was born from Brian Fairbank's passion for sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices. The natural next step - "This evolved organically and was not force-fed at all," he said - was to develop a corporation that could help others imitate the success of Zephyr, which powers 40 percent of the snow-making at Jiminy Peak.

"More than three years ago, we embarked on a journey and we didn't know where it was going to take us. We took the fork less traveled and boy, has it made all the difference," the elder Fairbank said. "We had no idea we were paving the way for something new and exciting and setting an example for others to follow."

Inspired by Student

Calling Mount Greylock Regional High School graduate Rachel Payne his inspiration for pursuing and promoting green technologies, the Jiminy Peak CEO said he continually questions what he can do to facilitate change.

"I listened to Rachel and was just so moved. She said 'I'm going to see change. There are going to be challenges but there are also going to be opportunities. For the first time, the world is going to be united for a good cause.' It brought to life in me the ability to ask what I can do to make that happen," Fairbank said.

Rep. Denis E. Guyer, D-Dalton, and Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, were on hand at the official announcement on Thursday morning at J.J.'s Lodge to pass on words of encouragement to the budding business.

"If enthusiasm were success, than they would already be successful," said Downing. "We know that there is a desire and a demand to find a way to be more environmentally-friendly, to be more sustainable, to be more green. What businesses often lack is the expertise, the know-how, the knowledge. That is the essence of Eos, to bring that information to them."

Eos, named after the Greek goddess of the dawn, hopes to initially install 10 to 15 megawatts per year in wind power. Zephyr generates 1.5 megawatts, according to Schulte.

Lee Harrison, executive vice president of Berkshire Biodiesel LLC, attended the announcement and said he was "absolutely tickled" to see another progressive-minded company operating in the county.

"The more, the merrier," he said. "The federal government has dropped the ball when it comes to energy efficiency and green technologies and now, the leadership has to come both from Beacon Hill and private businesses like Eos and Berkshire Biodiesel."

While some may still scoff at the need for alternative energy, the movers behind Eos are ready to change the perception about renewable energy, especially wind power.

"With the need for energy, it's simply not a good enough reason anymore to say that you don't want to see wind turbines," said Schulte.
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