Thursday, January 23rd, 2020
Ithaca Tompkins Regional NY

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ITH Hosts Airport Microgrid Summit

Conference Held to Discuss Developing a Microgrid at ITH

Earlier this month, Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport hosted the Airport Microgrid Summit with Rocky Mountain Institute. With the mission of building a solar powered airport of the future, the conference discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with developing a microgrid at ITH. These include the unique requirements for energy assurance at airport facilities, how to transition from a microgrid project vision and study to project development and implementation, and how to engage communities and facilities “beyond the fence line” to support resilience and energy independence adjacent to the Airport. Additionally, objectives included identifying tools and resources to support microgrid project development at ITH and airports around the country. Attendees included individuals from various professions and organizations including Tompkins County, TCAD, Wayne County Airport Authority, and AVANGRID. The conference ran smoothly, and stirred great conversation amongst the community.

What is a Microgrid?

A standard grid connects homes, business and other buildings to central power sources, allowing us to use appliances, heating/cooling systems and electronics. Due to the interconnectedness, this means that when part of the grid needs to be repaired, everyone is affected. This is where a microgrid can help. According to energy.gov, “a microgrid is a local energy grid with control capability, which means it can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously.” While a microgrid generally operates while connected to the grid, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy generation in times of crisis like storms or power outages. A microgrid can be powered by distributed generators, batteries, and/or renewable resources like solar panels. A microgrid allows communities to be more energy independent and, in some cases, more environmentally friendly.

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