Work has wrapped up on a unique microgrid project at the Pittsburgh International Airport that features natural gas and solar energy generation.
The power generated at PIT is the primary supply for the entire airport, including the terminals, airfield, Hyatt hotel and Sunoco. The airport will remain connected to the traditional electrical grid as an option for emergency or backup power if needed. The microgrid will generate power, in part, through onsite natural gas wells and 9,360 solar panels across eight acres.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority Board of Directors in 2019 awarded Peoples Natural Gas a 20-year contract to build, maintain and operate the microgrid at no cost to the airport. Crews started construction in July 2020 and completed the project on schedule. Natural gas was drilled on-site by CNX Resources, in addition to gas from the interstate pipeline system and solar generation.
The microgrid consists of five natural gas-fueled generators and nearly 10,000 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 megawatts.
In addition to Peoples and CNX Resources, other firms involved in the development of the microgrid included IMG Energy Solutions, EIS Solar, PJ Dick, LLI Engineering and Duquesne Light Co.
Airport microgrids are becoming a lot more common. Its the perfect unused space. We will need a lot more solar panels if we are going to replace oil and gas in the future.