Pitt Ohio facility with solar
Image: Courtesy of Pitt Ohio (Pittsburgh Terminal/Sustainability video).

At the Pitt Ohio trucking facility in Harmar, Pennsylvania, tractor trailers roll up to a depot where lights, computers, and electric forklifts are all powered by clean energy produced on-site.

A wind turbine and solar panels supply energy to the facility’s microgrid. During a power outage, it can operate independently from the utility grid and continue supplying power to the depot.

It may seem odd that a trucking company is investing in renewable energy. But there are multiple benefits. Gregory Reed of the University of Pittsburgh designed Pitt Ohio’s system.

Reed: “Part of all of this is trying to include as much renewable energy as they can to reduce their carbon emissions, and at the same time, become more independent in terms of their energy supply and therefore adding resiliency and security.”

Reed says investing in renewables and building a microgrid can be expensive, but it pays off over time.

Reed: “If you begin to look at other – and I think very tangible – components of the cost of carbon, the cost of resiliency and security, then you can make a much stronger case for it.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...