Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) will go “off the grid” by 2021 with an independent, solar and natural gas powered system to meet its own energy needs, TribLive reports.
Airport officials recently signed a deal with Peoples Natural Gas to drill natural gas wells on airport property and install an eight-acre solar farm. The resulting independent power grid is expected to save the airport about a half-million dollars annually in energy costs.
The system will generate about 20 megawatts of power, in excess of the airport’s current peak usage rate of 14 megawatts.
“It meets our goals of resiliency, sustainability and cost-efficiency,” said Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis.
Connections to the traditional power grid will remain in the event of emergencies.
The power grid project is being touted as part of the comeback story for the airport, which once was a major hub for US Airways. Officials are currently negotiating a new deal with airlines serving the airport ahead of a $1 billion renovation project that will see PIT get a new terminal building.
“It’s really important for us to demonstrate to our international airline partners that we have assets in this region that allow us to think differently, to innovate, and to really move the industry forward,” Cassotis said.
“Pittsburgh has arrived. We are back. And that message hasn’t necessarily landed everywhere.”