The Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority is a public entity that owns and operates the Smyrna Airport in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The airport serves as a hub for general aviation, military, and corporate aircraft, with over 100,000 flights and 500,000 passengers annually. The airport is also home to several aviation-related businesses, including maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facilities, flight schools, and aircraft manufacturers.
As the aviation industry faces increasing pressure to reduce its carbon footprint, the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority has taken steps to promote decarbonisation and renewable energy. In 2020, the airport announced a partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to install a 5-megawatt solar farm on airport property. The solar farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power over 700 homes and offset approximately 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The airport has also implemented a corporate energy program to reduce its own energy consumption and costs. The program includes energy audits, efficiency upgrades, and the installation of energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems. These measures have resulted in significant energy savings and cost reductions for the airport, while also reducing its carbon footprint.
In addition, the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority has explored the use of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) to procure renewable energy. A PPA is a contract between a renewable energy provider and a buyer, in which the buyer agrees to purchase a certain amount of renewable energy at a fixed price over a set period of time. PPAs can help companies to reduce their carbon footprint, while also providing long-term cost savings and price stability.
The airport has also taken steps to promote sustainable aviation practices among its tenants and users. In 2019, the airport hosted a Sustainable Aviation Symposium, which brought together aviation industry leaders, government officials, and environmental advocates to discuss ways to reduce the industry's carbon footprint. The symposium focused on topics such as sustainable fuels, electric aircraft, and carbon offsetting.
The Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority has also worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to promote sustainable aviation practices. In 2019, the airport received a grant from the FAA to install electric ground support equipment, such as baggage tugs and ground power units, which can reduce emissions and noise pollution. The airport has also implemented a noise abatement program to minimize the impact of aircraft noise on nearby communities.
Overall, the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority has demonstrated a commitment to promoting decarbonisation and renewable energy in the aviation industry. Through partnerships with the TVA, energy efficiency measures, corporate PPAs, and sustainable aviation practices, the airport has taken significant steps to reduce its carbon footprint and promote a more sustainable future for aviation. As the industry continues to face pressure to reduce emissions, the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority is poised to be a leader in sustainable aviation practices.