Padilla Introduces Legislation to Help Airports Invest in Energy Resiliency and Renewable Energy Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), member of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, introduced legislation today to help airports invest in renewable generation resources like solar panels, battery storage systems, and microgrids. Padilla’s Airport Energy Resiliency and Renewable Energy Act would create a new $125 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant program to fund the installation of renewable energy resources that directly and substantially benefit airports. This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

“While California airports have been leading the effort to leverage renewable energy systems to enhance the efficiency of their power sources, many airports across the nation still have incredible opportunities to utilize their abundant space to capture and store renewable energy. By further investing in these smart solutions, airports can lower emissions and improve energy resiliency,” said Senator Padilla. “As we look to reduce emissions and curb the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, I’m introducing this legislation to ensure we are supporting airports in making the transition to renewable energy.”

“The airport industry thanks Senator Padilla for his leadership on this important legislation,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, Airports Council International – North America. “As airports continue to incorporate electrification projects into their terminals and airfields, electrical capacity and resiliency are becoming major issues. Funding for new electrical efficiency and resiliency projects are needed to support greater production of clean energy and to minimize the potential of outages shutting down portions or all of an airport as power demands significantly increase in the future.”

“The California Airports Council is pleased to see the introduction of the Airport Energy Resiliency and Renewable Energy Act of 2022,” said Jim Lites, Executive Director, California Airports Council. “California airports have been leaders in conversions to alternative energy and fuels and this proposal will accelerate these efforts leading to improved air quality faster.”

Padilla is a staunch advocate for resilient airport energy and infrastructure. He recently led efforts urging the inclusion of funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 Transportation, and Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) bill to help airports capture renewable energy wherever possible, as well as make airports more resilient to the effects of climate change and ensure they remain operational even during blackouts. The recently released FY23 Senate THUD bill would dedicate at least $25 million in supplemental Airport Improvement Program funding for zero-emission vehicle and emissions reduction projects at commercial airports. The bill also would encourage the FAA to actively engage with airport sponsors at major hubs on energy efficiency, energy resiliency, and renewable energy projects that would help prevent power disruptions or outages.

Padilla also voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which provided 167 airports across California over $294 million in funding, and an additional $94.6 million to help improve terminals and related infrastructure at Los Angeles International, San Diego International, Norman Y. Mineta San José International, and Long Beach Airports.

A copy of the bill is available here.


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