Pittsburgh International Airport will soon be powered by its own microgrid, using both solar and natural gas.
The microgrid will consist of five on-site natural gas-fueled generators and approximately 7,800 solar panels, capable of producing more than 20 MW of electricity – the equivalent of powering more than 13,000 residential homes. The airport’s current peak demand is approximately 14 MW.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority’s board of directors awarded Peoples Natural Gas a 20-year contract to build, maintain and operate the microgrid at no cost to the airport. In addition to Peoples, other firms involved in the development of the microgrid include CNX Resources, IMG Energy Solutions, EIS Solar, PJ Dick and LLI Engineering.
“Part of our mission is to be a world leader in aviation innovation, and this project is about powering airports into the future,” says Christina Cassotis, CEO of Pittsburgh International Airport. “This project will bring power resiliency and redundancy to enhance safety and ensure continued operations for the traveling public.”
The power generated by the microgrid will become the primary supply for the entire airport, including the airfield, Hyatt hotel and Sunoco. The airport will remain connected to the traditional electrical grid as an option for emergency or backup power when needed, such as extreme weather events or other grid interruptions. The project is expected to be online by summer 2021.