Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables - January 10, 2018
Airports continue the switch to renewable energy
With energy-hungry airports constantly in need of power sources, Mother Nature Network reports that more airports are switching, at least partially, to solar or wind power.
News about airport energy usage was front and center in December 2017 when a power outage hit Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, leading to more than 1,000 delayed and canceled flights. The fire was determined to have been caused by a fire affecting both primary and backup power cables than ran through a single tunnel. Referencing a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, The MNN report posited that a shift to renewable energy would offer airports more control as energy would be produced and distributed onsite.
"Producing energy onsite would mean that the day-to-day operations would be less affected by global energy markets," noted MNN, adding "This is a major advantage for the air travel industry, especially considering airlines’ profits often hinge on fuel prices."
The NAS study said that solar options are especially well-suited to airports since airfield already require open spaces to ensure safe runways. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates there are more than 800,000 acres of vacant land within U.S. airports. If used for solar energy, this space would provide approximately 116,000 MW, which is roughly the same amount of energy produced by 100 coal-fired plants.
Airlines already have a stated goal to cut emissions in half by 2050. MNN noted that increasing the use of renewable energy at airports is contributing to this goal, adding that "stakeholders could be pushing for this because it is one of the most straightforward ways to lower the industry’s overall carbon emissions."
MNN lists Fresno, Indianapolis, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and San Diego among U.S. airports now using solar and wind energy. Internationally, England’s Gatwick and Birmingham airports and Cochin International in India are using solar energy, while four airports in the Netherland expect their goal of 100% power from renewables will be met this year.
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