AlphaStruxure adds microgrid to New York terminal

  • February 8, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Massachusetts-based energy-as-a-service (EaaS) provider AlphaStruxure is to design, construct and operate integrated microgrid infrastructure at the New Terminal One (NTO) at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport.

The microgrid will provide NTO with sustainable, resilient, locally generated and cost-predictable energy. It should deliver immediate greenhouse gas emission reductions of 38 per cent over grid-sourced energy and lead to cleaner air for the surrounding communities by eliminating the emission of criteria pollutants.

The electricity generated by the microgrid is enough to power 3570 average US homes for one year. The project will feature the largest rooftop solar array in New York City, and on any airport terminal in the USA, with all available and viable rooftop areas being used for solar.

NTO – a consortium of labour, operating and financial partners including Ferrovial, Carlyle, JLC Infrastructure and Ullico – is building the privately-financed all-international terminal in partnership with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

The terminal will serve as a gateway to the New York metropolitan area and is estimated to generate over 10,000 jobs. The first gates are expected to be open in 2026, with completion anticipated by 2030.

Upon project completion, NTO will be the first resilient airport transit hub in the New York region that can function independently of the power grid, to maintain 100 per cent of airport operations during power disruptions across the 23 gates and dining, retail, lounges and recreational space.

The 11.34MW microgrid will include 7.66MW of rooftop solar, 3.68MW of fuel cells and 2MW/4MW-hours of battery energy storage, and use re-claimed heat to generate chilled water and heating hot water.

The microgrid will consist of four power islands, with each island functioning as a local, integrated energy system with sources of generation, storage, automation and control. The rooftop PV system will have over 13,000 solar panels, and electricity generated by the solar array alone is enough to power the equivalent of 1039 average US homes for a year.

The microgrid will be delivered to NTO stakeholders by AlphaStruxure, a joint venture of global investment firm Carlyle and Schneider Electric, that designs, builds, owns, operates and maintains tailored energy infrastructure. As a partner for the project, Carlyle is financing the microgrid, while Schneider Electric is delivering microgrid technology, software and services. The project is delivered through an EaaS contract, a long-term agreement ensuring predictable operating costs and guaranteed performance without upfront capital expenditures.

Annette Clayton, CEO of Schneider Electric in North America, said: “The New Terminal One project at JFK shows that Schneider Electric’s microgrid technology is ready to transform our nation’s most critical infrastructure – including one of the busiest airports in the country – into a sustainable airport of the future.”

The system’s performance is managed by AlphaStruxure’s Integrate, a cyber-secure digital platform that optimises microgrid operations by compiling and analysing data across the on-site energy infrastructure. Round-the-clock operators predict and respond to the system in real time through AlphaStruxure’s network operations centre. With an intelligent microgrid in place, the terminal should work towards eliminating power disruptions while increasing distributed energy resources for resilience.

“This New Terminal One infrastructure project illuminates a new pathway to decarbonising the air transportation sector,” said Juan Macias, CEO of AlphaStruxure. “We’re thrilled to provide a holistic microgrid that will keep NTO powered through outages and advance the city, state and port authority’s ambitious decarbonisation goals. This project is paving the way for all transportation hubs and municipalities across the country. Not only is it about resilient energy, it’s about decarbonisation, risk transfer and cost predictability via the energy-as-a-service business model.”

AlphaStruxure’s microgrid is designed to achieve New York and PANYNJ’s sustainability mandates, and will contribute towards the New York State Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (CLCPA) requiring 70 per cent of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040.

“Sustainability and resilience have been core values for the New Terminal One, and we are proud to unveil our partnership with AlphaStruxure to achieve these goals,” said Gerrard Bushell, TNO development CEO. “This is future-focused infrastructure that will facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels and sets a new standard for large-scale renewable development in New York and in the air transit sector. The partnership with AlphaStruxure also provides New Terminal One with resilient energy that has price certainty, de-risking the terminal from the volatile energy markets. Further, the local community of south-east Queens will benefit from cleaner air, economic development and the jobs accompanying this investment. AlphaStruxure’s microgrid is a fundamental building block of this terminal, and we look forward to the many benefits it will provide to travellers and the community for decades to come.”

AlphaStruxure owns its clients’ energy systems for their lifecycle, making it fully accountable for long-term outcomes on resilience, reliability, greenhouse gas reduction and cost stability, without the capex or complexity. AlphaStruxure is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and operates across North America.

The NTO will serve as a global gateway to the New York metropolitan area and the USA. The $9bn first phase is said to be the largest single asset project financing in US history.