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Microgrids: Opportunities and challenges for US airports
It is currently standard practice for airports in the United States and around the world to depend largely on their local electric utility for most day-to-day power needs, while having on-site back-up generation that can run essential operations during power outages or other emergencies. But recent cost declines and technology advances have made it possible for airports to install full microgrids, capable of supplying most or all of their basic power needs. While a microgrid can offer significant resiliency, cost and local control benefits for an airport, the sponsor needs to weigh many interrelated operational, legal and financial considerations to ensure a successful microgrid project and avoid unintended regulatory consequences. Among key areas to consider are structuring project governance and delivery, funding options, facility siting and potential environmental review, revenue use and diversion, and risks of utility regulation.
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Steven L. Osit is a partner at Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP, where he represents public entities with respect to the development and operation of airports throughout the United States. Steven advises airport sponsors on a wide range of federal regulatory matters involving the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and other federal agencies and counsels clients on the delivery of complex airport development projects. Steven also represents airport sponsors in administrative and judicial litigation arising out of regulatory compliance issues and other disputes with airport users and businesses. Steven is a certified private pilot.
Sarah M. Keane is a partner at Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP, where she focuses on regulated transactions, litigation, and policy matters involving electric power, clean transportation and climate change. Sarah regularly counsels clients on pertinent legal and regulatory developments in the areas of climate change, electric vehicles, renewable energy, energy storage and electricity grid management. She also advises a wide range of project developers and sponsors regarding asset development, purchase and sale, with a particular focus on renewable energy and transmission projects. Sarah assists project proponents regarding compliance with federal and state environmental compliance and helps them secure the full suite of local, state and federal entitlements.