Microgrids gaining interest, Pittsburgh International Airport the latest to build one

Pittsburgh International Airport recently built its own microgrid to generate solar power and natural gas on site. Over the years, microgrids have grown more and more popular.

“Microgrids are local power grids that can disconnect from the traditional centralized grid and operate autonomously,” explains Destenie Nock, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

The airport will use the microgrid as its primary power source but remain connected to the main grid in case of emergency.

“As we see more extreme weather events with climate change and more instances of deep freezes like we saw in Texas, more businesses, companies, hospitals, airports want to make sure they all reliably have power when they need it and they’re not dependent on some power plant really far off in the distance,” she says.

Nock says microgrids make facilities like airports more resilient and protect public safety.