Last Thursday, Federal Aviaion Administrator Randy Babbitt traveled to Seattle to award the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport a Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) grant for $18.3 million.
The grant, the largest of the FAA's VALE awards, supports installation of a pre-conditioned air plant that will make Sea-Tac one of the nation's few airports with a single, centralized system that covers the entire airport. The new system will allow aircraft at the gates to shut off auxiliary power and connect to the airport's cleaner central heating and cooling supply.
The project will reduce aircraft emissions at Sea-Tac by more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2. That's the equivalent of taking 8,700 cars off the road, and I think the residents of Seattle and Tacoma will appreciate that reduction. It will also save airlines up to five million gallons of fuel and $10 million in fuel costs per year.
"We've shown this can make a tremendous impact on our environmental footprint, one of our key goals," said Mark Reis, Sea-Tac Airport Managing Director. "The positive effects also include reduced noise from aircraft while they are parked at the gates."
Even better, the project is expected to create 120 jobs.
With the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions program, the FAA seeks to reduce airport ground emissions through low emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other airport air quality improvements like the new Sea-Tac pre-conditioned air plant. Since 2005, FAA has awarded 40 grants totalling $83 million.