Indy Airport Awarded Largest FAA Grant in the Nation

Indy Airport Awarded Largest FAA Grant in the Nation

The Indianapolis Airport Authority learned  it will receive the nation’s largest allotment of recent Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program funding, pulling in $22.58 million to construct energy efficient infrastructure and install solar panels at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND). In total, the FAA is investing nearly $92 million to help airports reach President Joe Biden’s goal of net zero-emissions by 2050.

“This is a huge win for the Indy airport, our environment and our community,” said IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “We’re committed to environmental sustainability, minimizing the impact of airport operations on the environment, and we’re doing that by exploring continuous improvements and opportunities for innovation.”

Rodriguez said the AIP grant will help fund the first 25 percent of a multi-phased program to transition the terminal’s electricity consumption to renewable energy generated onsite, including back-up battery storage for nighttime hours and times of disruptions or outages. In addition to this energy efficient infrastructure, solar panels will be installed on a new metal canopy within the surface parking lot areas near the terminal. This first phase will meet 25 percent of the terminal’s energy needs.

“We’re just getting started,” said Todd Cavender, IAA director of environment and sustainability. “As we build out this sustainable infrastructure, it has the potential to expand in the future with the goal of meeting 100 percent of the terminal’s energy needs.”

Currently, the Indy airport is home to one of the largest solar farms on any airport property in the world. It spans 183 acres on airport property with 87,478 solar panels, enough energy to power 3,675 average American homes per year. The IND Solar Farm provides renewable energy to the electric grid and lowers emissions, improving the community’s air quality and lowering the airport’s operating costs.

“With this newly FAA-funded project, the Indy airport will have on-site solar generation, which will help to reduce its carbon footprint and provide operational resiliency,” said Cavender.

Indianapolis International Airport’s emission-free and resilient future.

Through the Aviation Climate Action Plan, the United States set a goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector by 2050. The IAA has launched initiatives designed to meet that objective, leading with opportunities at IND.

One example is a $190 million runway and taxiway reconstruction project that features the first-ever FAA-approved use of carbon capture technology in the pavement. This innovative and environmentally sustainable-focused project is the first of its kind to receive Envision Platinum certification from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure – the institution’s highest award for sustainability and resiliency. The project uses CarbonCure, a technology that introduces recycled CO2 into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint without compromising operational performance.

“We’re committed to positive carbon reductions, year over year, for our entire airport system so that we meet the long-term goal of net-zero by 2050,” said Rodriguez.

In addition, the IAA airport system has the most Airport Carbon Accreditation-accredited airports operated by a single entity in the U.S. In 2022, Airports Council International – North America recertified the Indy airport at Level 3 Optimization for its efforts to manage and reduce CO2 emissions through independent assessment and verification. Indianapolis Airport Authority reliever airports (Hendricks County Airport-Gordon Graham Field, Downtown Heliport, Eagle Creek Airpark, and Indianapolis Regional Airport, Metropolitan Airport) were upgraded to Level 2 Reduction for effective carbon management procedures and achieving reduction targets.

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