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Boulder, CO – July 17, 2018 Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and partners were awarded a $450,000 research grant from Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) today to develop an airport microgrid implementation toolkit that will help airports avoid power outages and prevent massive associated flight cancellations. The microgrid toolkit will offer a suite of reference materials to help airports launch microgrid stakeholder engagement processes and to understand microgrid planning, design, deployment, and maintenance.

While a few airports, like San Diego International and Denver International, have energy microgrids already installed, for hundreds of others there is no specific guidance and minimal experience. An on-site microgrid can generate, store, and dispatch their own electricity. This way, if a power outage occurs in the grid the airport’s power supply would remain unaffected.

We are thrilled to that Airport Cooperative Research Program has recognized the essential need for airports to use microgrids,” says Adam Klauber, Principal from RMI’s Aviation team. “We expect the toolkit to save millions of dollars over the next decade, making airports more sustainable and resilient from power outages and cyber-attacks.”

Between 2000 and 2014, power outages doubled every five years. In 2015, reported outages increased to over 3,500 in the United States, according to the annual Blackout Tracker.  The impacts of these events are estimated to cost the economy over $150 billion in annual losses. Airports have also felt the effect.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the world, experienced a major power supply disruption on December 17, 2017. During the 11 hours the power was out, the Airport Authority had to cancel nearly 1,200 flights and tens of thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport or waiting at connecting airports. Each potential flight by a narrow-body aircraft can represent over $100,000 in ticket sales, and cancellations can cause the loss of this revenue.

We are excited to partner with RMI to deliver meaningful impact to the energy resilience of airports across the United States.” Adib Naslé, Founder and CEO at XENDEE.

RMI’s aviation team will be partnering with XENDEE, Converge Strategies, Barrett Energy Resources Group, and James M. Crites LLC, on the project that is expected to take 14 months to complete.

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About Rocky Mountain Institute

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.