Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) announces it will become the first major U.S. airport to be powered by its own microgrid, using its own natural gas wells and solar panels.
When it goes online in 2021, the microgrid will generate power through onsite natural gas wells and approximately 7,800 solar panels across eight acres that will combine to produce more than 20 megawatts of electricity, the equivalent of powering more than 13,000 residential homes. The airport’s current peak demand is approximately 14 megawatts.
The power generated by the airport microgrid will become the primary supply for the entire airport, including the airfield, Hyatt hotel and Sunoco gas station.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority Board of Directors, which oversees PIT, awarded Peoples Natural Gas a 20-year contract to build, maintain and operate the microgrid at no cost to the airport. The airport will remain connected to the traditional electrical grid as an option for emergency or backup power when needed.
“Part of our mission is to be a world leader in aviation innovation and this project is about powering airports into the future,” says PIT CEO Christina Cassotis. “This project will bring power resiliency and redundancy to enhance safety and ensure continued operations for the traveling public.”
In addition to Peoples, other firms involved in the development of the microgrid will include CNX Resources, IMG Energy Solutions, EIS Solar, PJ Dick and LLI Engineering.