By Stephen Barrett, LEED AP
I am pleased to announce the release of TRB’s ACRP Report 141 – Renewable Energy as an Airport Revenue Source. I authored the report with my colleague Philip DeVita and we were supported by team members from Frasca and Associates, Foley & Lardner LLP, Plante Environmental, and SunPower Corp. Report 141 provides the aviation industry with new information and guidance on the ownership structure and financial accounting behind an increasing number of airport renewable energy projects. Airports are constantly looking for alternative revenue streams to increase their competitiveness and grow their businesses. They also are exploring ways to use technology to run more efficiently and achieve meaningful cost savings that can be passed on to anchor tenants in the form of more competitive rates and charges. Airports are rich in land and buildings connected to regional infrastructure that provide cost-effective investment opportunities that will benefit the airport business well into the future. Renewable energy has become mainstream as a result of technological advancement, market maturity, and public sector policy and investment with profound benefits to power markets. Renewable energy has diversified the sources of energy and decentralized the power generation network increasing competition, expanding infrastructure investments, and improving national energy security and reliability of the electrical grid. It has increased regional competition for emerging energy generation with states vying for the new business opportunities and markets. It has also demonstrated the viability of a future carbon free economy with the design of high performance buildings that use less energy and supply what is needed through renewable sources. ACRP Report 141 describes renewable energy technologies, airport and renewable energy financing considerations, steps for project implementation, and a summary of 21 airport renewable energy case studies representing various technologies and funding strategies. It also includes a comprehensive list of all of the solar projects at airports in the U.S., a matrix of renewable energy funding opportunities, a solar feasibility case study, and a sample airport renewable energy RFP. I will present the report’s findings at the Airports Going Green Conference on October 27 in Chicago.