Archive for February, 2013

Extraordinary Times for Renewable Energy!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

by Steve Barrett

We are breathing rarified air these days thanks to renewable energy.  And the proof is in statistics. 

Get this:

  • 49% of all new electricity generation in the United States in 2012 came from renewable energy. 
  • 100% of new generation in January 2013 was from renewables!

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) releases a monthly report of new energy infrastructure that has been placed in service as well as an official compilation for each calendar year.  The updates include miles of new electric transmission lines, number of new hydropower projects, miles of natural gas pipelines, and MW of new electric power generation.  And airports are playing a significant role particular in solar power as evidenced by these projects that went into service over the past 13 months:

1)      3.6 MW Phase 2 Lakeland Regional Airport Solar Project expansion in Polk County, Florida. The Lakeland Regional Airport Solar has a total capacity of 6.3 MW.

2)      3 MW Pearson County Airport Solar Project in Timberlake North Carolina.  The amount of electricity being produced is equivalent to 360 households.

3)      3 MW Chicago-Rockford International Airport in Rockford, Illinois.   This is the first phase of what will be a 62 MW project that will produce enough power for 60,000 homes.

4)      FedEx developed a 3.6 MW project on its facilities at Newark Liberty International Airport which is providing 15% of its electricity needs.  See

Given the critical importance to our nation of the safety of air travel, the FAA is looking very closely at solar projects to make sure that they will not generate glare that might cause a negative impact on air traffic controllers and pilots.  HMMH provided reflectivity studies for the Chicago-Rockford and FedEx Projects, which otherwise would not have received the FAA’s approval.  We are also working with the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories on cutting edge research associated with solar glare under Airport Cooperative Research Project 02-38, Guidebook for Energy Projects’ Compatibility with Airports and Airspace.  As we accumulate knowledge about siting compatibility, expect to see more renewable energy projects at airports and across the country.

BBN receives top honor

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

by Bob Miller

I was sent a link to an article in the February 1st edition of the Boston Business Journal the other day – “Raytheon BBN heads to White House to be honored by President Obama”.  HMMH has strong historical ties to BBN; not only did Andy Harris, Nick Miller, Carl Hanson and I all work there together for 10 years, but I had a particularly strong connection because my father, Laymon Miller, began working at BBN back in 1956.  It is he, now 94, who was largely responsible for my developing an interest in aircraft noise.  At about age 12, I accompanied him on a field trip to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort where I first experienced the impact of aircraft noise on Navy housing.  I was a Junior at Carleton when I had my first summer job at BBN helping to defend what was then The New York Port Authority against a lawsuit brought by the town of Hempstead over aircraft noise from Idlewild Airport, now Kennedy International.

Thus, it was with some degree of pride that I read that Raytheon BBN Technologies was going to be awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, which, according to the BBJ, is “the highest honor the U.S. government can give to inventors and scientists”.  It was especially noteworthy that the article cited three technologies for which BBN is known – packet switching (key to internet data transfer), the development of the ARPANET (the Department of Defense’s precursor to the internet), and “identifying flight patterns to reduce jet engine noise in residential areas”.  Ta-da!  The technology upon which HMMH was first founded.

Though HMMH has grown into much more, now 31 years later, Andy, Nick, Carl and I, as well as Chris Menge, Ted Baldwin and Dave Towers — all former BBN-ers – owe a part of our formative professional lives to the foresight of Dick Bolt, Leo Beranek, and Bob Newman and the years we all worked together.   And though others at HMMH may not realize it, all of our present careers here have been molded by a philosophy and standard of excellence that we first learned at one of this country’s most highly regarded firms.  I learned much from BBN and am personally honored to have been a part of it.

FAA Publishes Noise Land Guidance Letter

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

by Gene Reindel

Is your airport eligible to participate in a pilot program to redevelop properties previously purchased for airport noise compatibility?  Per the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the FAA, today, has published Program Guidance Letter (PGL) 13-04 that provides eligibility, project requirements and a checklist for airports to apply for $5 million to redevelop acquired “noise land”.  In addition to grant funding, an eligible airport may submit a PFC approval request.  The FAA is authorized to provide funding at a maximum of four airports for a total of $20 million.  The pilot program authority to issue grants sunsets September 30, 2015.  This pilot program is intended to encourage compatible land uses and generate economic benefits.

Solar Farm at Indianapolis International Airport

Monday, February 11th, 2013

by Steve Barrett

One of the largest solar farms at an airport in the world is being proposed at Indianapolis International Airport.  A recent news story publicized the project. The project, however, has been in the works for a few years and will likely be implemented in several phases.  Recent news is primarily related to the start of construction on Phase I which is proposed in the southwest area of the airport near the I-70 interchange.  In the summer of 2010 when the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) was considering the solar opportunity presented by the local utility and private developers, IAA engaged HMMH to assess the potential impacts of the proposed project on airspace safety.  HMMH completed a study of reflectivity, communications systems interference, and physical obstruction with Part 77 surfaces.  Due to the project’s location southwest of the air traffic control tower, no glare impacts were predicted.  Based in part on our analysis, IAA proceeded with a procurement process to select a private developer who would lease airport land and own and operate the solar farm.  HMMH was also engaged by the project developer to conduct a more detailed analysis on impacts from a modified design on both the control tower and arriving aircraft.  The IAA filed a Form 7460 with the FAA and FAA issued a determination of no hazard in the summer of 2012.  HMMH has subsequently been engaged by IAA to evaluate the Phase II location.  The Indianapolis Airport Solar Farm is a great example of the potential financial benefits available to airports in leasing underutilized lands for renewable energy development.


Chicago Rockford International Airport

Chicago Rockford International Airport Solar Farm