By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh International Airport has become the very first airport in the world powered completely by natural gas and solar energy.READ MORE: Construction Beginning On New, 'First-Of-Its-Kind' Electrical Microgrid To Completely Power Pittsburgh International Airport
The airport’s new microgrid went live on Wednesday morning.
It houses nearly 10,000 solar panels and on-site natural gas wells over eight acres.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority says launching the grid is a “key step” ahead of upcoming groundbreaking for the terminal project.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at the launch, “Our region has innovation in its DNA, and the construction of this microgrid reflects the work that has been done at the airport to maximize public safety and sustainability. I’m extremely proud that the airport is utilizing nearly 10,000 solar panels as a source of sustainable energy. It, along with the other mix of energy generated at the airport, continues to position this facility as an industry leader.”
Fitzgerald also says thanks to several partners the project won’t cost Allegheny County taxpayers a dime.
Peoples Natural Gas will maintain and operate the new microgrid.
The airport says the new grid will fully power both airport terminals, the airfield, the Hyatt Hotel at the airport and the Sunoco gas station.
Airport Authority officials say they hope the microgrid will save on electrical costs for the airport and its tenants and boost its power resiliency.
“We’re demonstrating how new, alternative energies like solar can be integrated with traditional power sources like natural gas. This energy solution provides the airport with a more resilient power supply, as well as reducing its emissions,” Christopher Franklin, chairman and CEO or Essential Utilities, said.
The airport will remain connected to the electrical grid for backup and in case of emergencies.