The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is due to issue Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the installation and operation of up to 60 acres of solar panels around Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Speaking at the 2011 Airports Going Green conference in Chicago, Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner of the CDA said that it was pursuing “the development of a massive solar panel installation” at Chicago O’Hare.
She said that in the next few weeks, the CDA will issue RFPs to the renewable energy development community to install and operate the solar farm around O’Hare “on vacant properties that are suitable for such development”.
The solar systems are intended to “supply clean, renewable energy to the airport while helping grow the region’s renewable energy market”, she added.
Meanwhile, as part of a number of new sustainability initiatives to be launched at the gateway, Andolino also revealed plans to construct an alternative fueling station for private and commercial vehicles at Chicago O’Hare.
She said that the CDA is also inviting developers to construct and operate the fueling station, which will supply a number of alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, and electric vehicle charging.
According to Andolino, this proposed development will “leverage the City’s new electric vehicle charging infrastructure and provide alternatives to conventionally fueled vehicles to the millions of drivers that travel to the airport each year”.
Andolino said: “The solar panels will provide a substantial renewable energy source to help power O’Hare and the alternative fueling station will promote the use of clean fuels and electricity to power vehicles.
“These initiatives are two examples of how the CDA is working to provide new, innovative opportunities for public-private partnership to grow the green economy in Chicago and beyond.”
Elsewhere, the CDA announced that it would launch a composting programme in partnership with Midway Airport Concessionaires (MAC One), for 13 restaurants at Midway International Airport.
Andolino said: “The Midway composting program will help keep waste out of landfills and also provide a substantial source of food waste to be used as compost.”