ACRP Report 151: Developing a Business Case for Renewable Energy at Airports is a guidebook to help airports understand renewable energy opportunities. The report includes instruction and tools to evaluate proposed renewable energy projects and their alternatives so that an informed decision that maximizes financial, self-sustainability, environmental and social benefits can be reached. The report lays out what a business case is, why renewable energy is important, and what a business case for renewable energy looks like. It describes the importance of identifying the project objective and how renewable energy might fit into the airport’s vision. A decision-making matrix is included that contains criteria used to evaluate a renewable energy project with a system for weighting each factor based on the airport’s particular objectives. The report presents the business case in the context of the airport’s typical master planning and capital improvement programming processes including engagement of key stakeholders. The report provides a model business case that evaluates a solar photovoltaic facility, a fossil fuel generator, and a fuel cell as options for providing on-site electricity generation to improve the airport’s energy stability and resiliency. It also includes examples of renewable energy business cases from both aviation and non-aviation organizations to highlight lessons learned. A sample request for proposal and a power purchase agreement are provided for project implementation.
Renewable energy can provide financial and public policy benefits to airports. In current practice, airports are typically presented with opportunities to pursue renewable energy projects based on the availability of grant funding programs or inquiries from private entities. In such circumstances, it may not be possible for airports to engage in a thorough investigation of the alternatives to the proposed projects and reach an informed decision that optimizes airports’ financial, environmental, operational, and social benefits. An effective, objective business case evaluation would assist airports embarking on renewable energy projects to advance future planning that targets economic, environmental, and social goals. Given the range of sustainable measures that can be undertaken, implementation of renewable energy projects has been limited although it presents a significant opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Under ACRP Project 02-56, research was conducted by HMMH in association with Jacobsen Daniels Associates and Foley & Lardner LLP. Electronic files of the sample request for proposals and the power purchase agreement as well as a decision-making matrix are available on CRP-CD-177