Pittsburgh Airport converts primary power supply to first-of-its-kind microgrid

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Pittsburgh Airport converts primary power supply to first-of-its-kind microgrid

2019-08-12

For the first time in the United States, Pittsburgh International Airport have unveiled their plans to be solely reliant on its own microgrid to generate power, redefining how airports of the future will be powered.

Though the airport will remain connected to the traditional electrical grid in case of emergency, the microgrid will be the primary supply of power for the entire airport; including the airfield, Hyatt hotel and Sunoco.

The microgrid is an electricity source that can work independently whilst still connected to the traditional grid. Resources will consist of five natural gas-fuelled generators and approximately 7,800 solar panels spread across eight acres of land. Able to produce over 20 megawatts of electricity, the microgrid will be more than capable with the airport’s current peak demand standing at only approximately 14 megawatts.

Airports throughout the U.S. have been working to increase power reliability after an increase in thousands of cancelled flights and passenger disruptions due to high-profile power outages. As a result, Pittsburgh’s model will increase reliability and public safety whilst saving on electricity costs for both the airport and tenants. It will also offer a more efficient, sustainable and resilient source of energy.

The hope is that the model will serve as an example for others. Pittsburgh International Airport’s CEO, Christina Cassotis, stated that “part of our mission is to be a world leader in aviation innovation and this project is about powering airports into the future. This project will bring power resiliency and redundancy to enhance safety and ensure continued operations for the travelling public”.