Company looks to airport with renewable energy

VIENNA — A Columbus-based renewable energy company is looking to bring solar power to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

David Dwyer of American Renewable Energy, also known as ARE, said installing solar panels would help stabilize the airport’s budget “for many years to come.”

On Tuesday, Dwyer presented a preliminary proposal to the Western Reserve Port Authority’s aviation committee. The port authority runs the local airport.

Dwyer, energy project architect and developer for ARE, said a review of the airport’s electric bills shows that while usage has gone done by about 12 percent, costs have gone up.

“This project could save the airport a lot of money and the costs would be predictable because the port authority would actually pay a flat rate for the electricity,” Dwyer said. “It really is a no-lose proposition.”

He said the plan also could help the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which abuts the airport and shares its runway.

ARE’s plan calls for the installation of a 12-megawatt solar power system. The cost to the port authority for the electricity would remain level for 25 years, Dwyer said. ARE would finance, design, engineer, construct and install the solar and storage system. The company also would operate it.

While the project calls for a $25 million investment from ARE, there would be no out-of-pocket costs to the port authority, airport or air base, Dwyer said.

The local airport would be the first to work with ARE. All of the energy generated would be used at the airport or the military installation.

Dwyer plans to also present the project proposal to air station officials.

John Moliterno, the port authority’s executive director, said the aviation the committee needs to review and discuss the plan further before presenting it to the full board.

The Federal Aviation Administration would have to sign off on the project before it could be implemented, Moliterno noted.

“This is all very preliminary,” Moliterno said. “This was our first introduction. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and a lot of information to look over and consider.”