DFW Airport Receives $35 Million For Zero-Carbon Power Plant

DFW Airport Receives $35 Million For Zero-Carbon Power Plant
Interior of a terminal at the DFW International Airport. | Image from DFW International Airport

DFW International Airport’s zero-carbon power plant received financial support this week, thanks to a $35 million grant from the federal government’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in the fall.

DFW airport, which is the first and largest carbon-neutral airport in North America, plans to construct a new zero-carbon electric central utility plant to address current and future heating and cooling demand, improve resiliency, maximize efficiency, and position itself to achieve net-zero Carbon by 2030.

The $35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is part of the latest round of money coming to airports from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed in 2021. DFW International Airport already received $63.2 million through the bill for other coming projects.

The funding comes from the Airport Terminal Program, one of three aviation programs established by the infrastructure legislature. The program provides $1 billion dollars yearly for grants to improve airport terminals over five years.

The grants can help airports expand capacity, increase energy efficiency, promote competition, and provide greater accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

“Americans deserve modern airports that meet the needs of their families and growing passenger demand. Funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, today’s grants will improve airport terminals while also creating good jobs in communities across the country,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated in a press release.

The FAA announced the grants Thursday, which included $103.4 million going to Texas airports for projects in Houston, Austin, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Arlington.

The Arlington Municipal Airport received $540,000, which it will use to replace HVAC units with energy-efficient ones. 

Meanwhile, DFW airport’s $35 million will go toward beginning Phase 1 of its plant, which includes building the facility and two of five terminals.  

DFW International Airport leaders believe the zero-carbon power plant is the key to reaching their net-zero carbon goals. As part of these goals, the airport hopes to move away from natural gas power toward wind power created in other parts of the state. In addition, they hope to overhaul the other power plants on the property, replacing aging steam pipes with high-efficiency hot water piping systems.

“We’ve set aggressive goals to reach carbon net-zero by 2030,” said DFW airport’s Executive Vice President of Operations Chris McLaughlin. “We’ve made progress, but we think this new power plant is the single biggest item in the bucket.”

The $35 million grant will not cover the project’s entire cost. The airport estimates it will cost about $158 million in total. DFW International Airport has requested $105 million from the federal government for the project. More money could come later as this is just the first of three annual allocations from the $1 trillion budget package. About $15 billion is supposed to be allocated to airport projects.

DFW airport is now in the design phase for the project, according to McLaughlin. The power plant will be built between the roadways of Terminal C and the parking lot next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Note: This article was updated on July 15 at 6:47 p.m. to include additional information.

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