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Several airports are considering leaving the network to avoid power outages



Aerial view of Pittsburgh International Airport

Source: Pittsburgh International Airport

Should airports go off the web? Pittsburgh International Airport – and others – think so.

Remember 11 December power outages at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in December 2017 that canceled hundreds of flights, stranded thousands of passengers and cost Delta Airlines alone an estimated $ 50 million in lost business?

Since then, power outages related to everything from equipment failure, faulty wiring, and an electric power plant explosion disrupted operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, New York's LaGuardia Airport, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. , Philadelphia International Airport and McCarran Las Vegas International Airport.

And just last Saturday, the flow at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport went out ̵

1; twice – due to strong winds associated with Tropical Storm Olga. In addition to flight cancellations and delays, a solemn open house for the new $ 1 billion terminal, which opened November 6, had to be postponed by a few hours.

Microgrids to the rescue

During power outages at airports, generators, and other forms of back-up power that are usually kicked in to power necessary emergency lighting, but boarding, planning, airport activity and airport operations often come to a standstill.

Pittsburgh International Airport: rendering of the microgrid solar heat.

Source: Pittsburgh International Airport

There is only one reason why Pittsburgh International Airport recently declared its intention to become the first US airport to create a self-sufficient energy system, or microgrid, using only energy sources – solar and natural gas. – from their own property.

"After seeing what happened in Atlanta and Los Angeles, I think every CEO across the country, and probably around the world, was wondering if hey was not ready and prepared," said Christina Cassotis, CEO of Allegheny Airport Authority, which operates Pittsburgh Airport. "Here's the answer, yes, but we want to make sure we can continue operating under any circumstances."

To that end, Pittsburgh International Airport plans to have its microgrid in place by 2021 to operate the entire airport, including the airport, the on-site Hyatt Hotel and a Sunoco station.

Veolia operator on TWA microgrid plant in hotel

Source: Christophe Majani-D & # 39; Inguimbert | Veolia North America

Power to PIT's microgrid will be generated through the airport's natural gas wells on site and nearly 8,000 solar panels covering eight acres of the airport. A connection to the traditional electrical grid will remain, but only as an alternative for emergency or backup when needed.

"It has everything to do with resilience and redundancy," Cassotis said. "We wanted to make sure we could do everything with the assets we have to improve the safety of the fellow traveler and ensure continued operation. As a bonus, we get lower energy costs."

PIT airport officials project a $ 500,000 energy savings in the first year of the project. In addition to lowering energy costs, the airport will also receive annual leases from Peoples Natural Gas through the project.

Many military facilities, colleges, hospital complexes, industrial parks, and other large institutions already have some kind of microgrid in place to ensure uninterrupted power. Generally, these systems are connected to existing grids, but can disconnect and operate on their own with electricity from batteries, diesel-powered generators or, ideally, solar or another source of renewable power, says Craig Schiller, a manager specializing in aviation at global energy nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute.

While Detroit Metro Airport already has a microgrid in place, airports in Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, Boston, Orange County, California and elsewhere are now exploring and making microgrids. [19659002TimestarewallpublishesRemyAirportToolkitFormatProgramFunded$450000grantfromNationalAcademiesofSciencesEngineeringandMedicine'sTransportationResearchBoardfortheirplaceabilityfortheirspeciesandtheirspeciesandtheirprocessesandthemicrogroupprocess

"But the bottom line maximizes an airport's ability to fulfill its function."

Airports not only provide the economic vitality of a community, but in an emergency, an airport with its own power grid can become an important community asset. [19659002] "99% of the time customers will not notice whether or not an airport is using their microgrid resources," Schiller said. "But if it's a local, regional or natural disaster, the airport could give people a place to travel or a way to get out of the city."

Airport Hotel with a Micro Grid

Most microgrids are designed to connect to existing power grids. But the 512-room TWA hotel and conference center opened in May 2019 in the landmark Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport & # 39; s Terminal 5 is an "eye microgrid" operating independently of New York's electric networks. [19659027] TWA hotel bar

Christophe Majani-D & # 39; Inguimbert | Veolia North America

The hotel has its own 9000 square meter roof-top CHP plant, powered by natural gas.

The facility generates all power to the hotel campus and harvests waste heat from hot water engines and other uses. A battery storage system helps with maximum load and backup.

"Think of it as a Tesla on the roof of the hotel," said Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR / Morse Development.

"The entire city and airport could be down, but the hotel will still be operating, with people having cocktails at the bar," said Mike Byrnes, senior vice president of Veolia North America, which has operators on call 24/7 for to operate and maintain the hotel's microgrid. [19659002] In addition to ensuring that cocktails can continue to be served during a blackout, TWA Hotel's power plant will also contribute to the company's end line.

Hotel developer Morse said that electric bills at Con Edison would have cost $ 5 million a year.

19659002] "The $ 15 million we spent to build the plant will be paid out in three years," Morse said. "And we save $ 4 million annually."

That should be enough to buy everyone a round of drinks, or three, in the lobby bars of the next New York City blackout.


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