The National Academies

ACRP 01-24 [Final]

Renewable Energy as an Airport Revenue Source

  Project Data
Funds: $399,613
Research Agency: Harris Miller Miller & Hanson
Principal Investigator: Stephen Barrett
Effective Date: 8/13/2013
Completion Date: 3/31/2015
Comments: Complete. Results published in ACRP Report 141


Airports have the goal of maintaining fee and rental structures that will make them as financially self-sustaining as possible. To accomplish this, airports are now exploring non-traditional revenue sources. At the same time, utility service providers have recently begun looking for opportunities to purchase energy generated from renewable sources to meet state, regional, and federal environmental and energy goals. Since airports often have available property and facilities to host and generate clean and renewable energy sources, there may be opportunities for them to generate revenue.Nevertheless, the use of renewable energy as a revenue source is a complex issue, requiring an understanding of emerging technologies, financing mechanisms, regulatory frameworks, and operational factors. There is limited guidance to help airports identify, evaluate, select, and successfully implement renewable energy projects for revenue generation. Research is needed to develop a guidebook and evaluation tool to help airports understand the feasibility, opportunities, and challenges of renewable energy projects and their implementation for revenue generation.


The objective of this research is to prepare a guidebook, with an associated evaluation tool, to help airports identify and develop viable renewable energy opportunities for increasing net revenues.

The guidebook should include:

1. An introduction to renewable energy as a potential airport revenue source, including descriptions of renewable energy options for airports.

2. Evaluation factors for each renewable energy option, including (but not limited to): operational considerations, safety considerations, regulatory compliance requirements, environmental issues, capital and maintenance costs, funding sources, incentives, benefit/cost, and return on investment.

3. A flow chart or process map illustrating key decision-making steps.

4. Guidance on key implementation steps, including (but not limited to): stakeholder coordination, contractor selection (including sample relevant RFP language and advertising options), contracting (including sample relevant contract language), project management, regulatory coordination and processes, and public outreach (including education and promotion).

5. A minimum of 10 project summaries where renewable energy is used to generate airport revenue, documenting the decision-making process, project scope, and lessons learned. The project summaries should be representative of different airport sizes, geographies, and renewable energy technologies.

6. A glossary.

The evaluation tool should be designed to help airports identify and conduct an initial evaluation of the most appropriate renewable energy generation options to create revenue. The evaluation tool should allow users to input site-specific data and should produce output showing potential revenue stream and a benefit-cost summary in tabular and graphical forms. A user guide should also be included.


Research complete.  Results published in
ACRP Report 141.

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