Developing an Airport Business Case for Renewable Energy

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 airport planning that targets economic, environmental, and social objectives. With the broad universe of sustainable measures that can be undertaken, implementing renewable energy projects has been limited although it can be a significant opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The objective of this research is to produce a guidebook to help airports develop a business case to take advantage of renewable energy opportunities. The guidebook should include, but not be limited to: (1) Criteria to evaluate the sustainable (e.g., economic, greenhouse gas reduction and aspirational) objectives in the business cases; (2) An outline and components of a model business case consistent with the overall airport master plan. A business case explores all feasible approaches to a given problem and enables airports to select the best option. A model business case should consider, for example, costs and benefits, potential sources of funding, and alternatives considered with opposing arguments including the benefits and risks involved in undertaking the renewable energy project. (3) Recommended internal/external stakeholder engagement process(es); (4) Methodology/template for ranking all capital projects and initiatives, including renewable energy projects, to incorporate environmental, social, and economic metrics; (5) Examples of renewable energy business cases to highlight lessons learned; (6) Potential funding sources, mechanisms, and solicitation opportunities for renewable energy projects, including a sample request for proposal (RFP); and (7) Best practices to compare and select, including trade-off analysis, between multiple renewable energy alternatives (e.g., solar photovoltaic (PV) vs. solar thermal). The research plan should include appropriate interim deliverables for Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) panel review and approval that include at a minimum: (1) an annotated outline of the model business case to be reviewed and approved by the ACRP panel. The model business case should include total cost of ownership and other synergistic activities consistent with renewable energy projects; (2) a list of examples of renewable energy business case scenarios not restricted to the United States or the airport industry; (3) a draft outline of the guidebook that incorporates other relevant ACRP research; (4) a sample draft chapter as a writing example; and (5) an interim report that describes work done in early tasks, at a minimum (1) through (4), and a plan for the remaining work to be accomplished. The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as any web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate. The final deliverables will include: (1) a guidebook that meets the requirements as stated in the objective and (2) a downloadable RFP sample in Microsoft format for airports' solicitation opportunities of renewable energy projects.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 02-56

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Schatz, Theresia

  • Performing Organizations:

    Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:

    Barrett, Steven

  • Start Date: 20140527
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150826
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37678

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543546
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 02-56
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 18 2014 1:02AM