It is for years that I ask myself as a frequent flyer why there is no Airport using a system, like built-in electrical resistances on Runways to avoid Delays/Cancellations and even closing Airfields during winter? The costs of such a system would be for sure less than closing an Airfield for one day.
Removing snow from runways is not the biggest problem. Snow can be ploughed from the runways pretty quickly. The problems occur:
- When it is snowing, especially in snow storms with strong winds and poor visibility. The wind and visibility are bigger problem than the snow laying on the runway and when the snow fall rate is such that the snow becomes a problem itself, the heating system would not be able to keep up melting it anyway.
- Due to snow and ice accumulating on aircraft preparing for take-off. Obviously heating runways would not help in this regard.
- Due to fog, which is much more common in winter. Again, heating runways would not help in this regard.
So runway heating would probably not help very often.
Also the runway has to be extremely strong, because aircraft have much higher weight on each tire than cars. A heating system with adequate durability would therefore be really expensive.
I don't know how to calculate it, but I am sure that heating a runway will use a lot of electricity. Imagine yourself on that runway with a 2Kw electric fire in snowy conditions. You would still be freezing, and the fire would have no effect on the runway surface. Even if you could do this, the heating might create fog above the runway.
I don't think runway conditions are the biggest problem in winter, because as long as it isn't snowing continuously, snow ploughs can clear a runway (salt isn't used because it would be damaging/corrosive to aircraft).
The problems in winter often are the other weather conditions such as strong crosswinds, poor visibility, low cloud base, because unless AutoLand is being used (available only on some aircraft/some airports), the pilot generally has to be able to see the runway when coming into land from an height typically of 200 feet.
It seems to have been done on runways, taxiways and parking stands, though not by using electric resistors, as you suggest. See the following articles from the interwebz: