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Earth Day Breezes into Detroit Metro Airport

22 April 2010  •  Source: Wayne County Airport Authority

Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) marked today’s celebration of Earth Day 2010 with the debut of its recent $75,000 investment in exploring the feasibility of putting Detroit Metro Airport’s (DTW) wind to work supplementing the Airport’s power supply.

Windspire

The first of six Windspire Energy wind turbines to be installed at Detroit Metro Airport

Members of the media joined Airport Authority staff and partners today to view several of the six wind turbines being installed this week at DTW and to discuss the testing planned for the new technology at the Airport over the coming months. These state-of-the-art turbines, manufactured entirely in Michigan for Windspire Energy, represent the latest technology available to harness wind energy at lower wind speeds (4.5-5 mph). Windspire’s unique design is also ideal for the airport environment, where airspace is heavily regulated and traditional wind turbines are more difficult to install and operate.

Following installation of the turbines this week, WCAA and local Windspire distributor Southern Exposure Renewable Energy Co. will begin an intensive beta-testing process during which the performance of this new technology will be measured and evaluated to determine the practicality of further implementing it both at DTW and in other, similar environments worldwide.

The new turbines represent just the latest investment in the Airport Authority’s ongoing effort to explore and implement sustainable operational practices–including the use of alternative energy sources to reduce our environmental impact and offset the airport’s carbon footprint. For eight of the past nine snow seasons, DTW has been the leader in aircraft de-icing fluid recycling among airports worldwide. Recently, the Airport Authority and its logistics contractor launched a new program to transform used cooking oil from airport concessions into biofuels to power airport service vehicles. DTW has also spent nearly $1.15 million on more than 5,000 new, LED fixtures for its taxiway edge lights, which save the Authority thousands of dollars in energy costs per year compared to the incandescent fixtures they replaced.

The Authority’s Environmental and Infrastructure groups are currently evaluating a number of additional environmental initiatives including installation cutting-edge technologies involving solar/photovoltaic energy, green roofs and gray-water recycling.