European airports continue drive towards using renewable energy to supply terminal power and reduce emissions
Wed 23 Aug 2017 – Airport operator Royal Schiphol Group has entered into an agreement with Dutch energy company Eneco that will see Amsterdam Schiphol, Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven and Lelystad airports supplied with sustainable power from next year. Eneco will provide the airport group with 200 GWh of green energy every year for 15 years from power generated by new Dutch wind farms that will supply electricity for terminals, administration buildings and runway lighting. Meanwhile, Finavia is installing solar panels at Helsinki Airport that will supply nearly 10% of all electricity requirements for new terminal extensions and is also increasing the use of renewable energy at other airports in Finland through the use of bioenergy and geothermal heat. Helsinki recently became Europe’s 28th airport to be certified as carbon neutral.
Eneco’s first new wind farm at Vianen is due to become operational from January 2018, with more newly-built wind farms following so that from January 2020 all power for the five Dutch airports will come from wind. Until all the wind farms have been constructed, the power will come from existing sustainable energy sources in the country but Schiphol is keen to move away from drawing power from this network. The power to be supplied to the airports is comparable with the consumption of 60,000 households, the size of a city such as Delft, says Schiphol Group.
“For our new energy contract, we wanted nothing but sustainable power generated in the Netherlands,” explained Jos Nijhuis, CEO of Royal Schiphol Group. “After all, one thing is certain: aviation can and must be made more sustainable. We feel that the most important elements of this collaboration with Eneco are that all Schiphol Group airports are involved and that additional sustainable energy sources will be developed in the Netherlands. This will allow our airports to increase their sustainability and offer economic benefits.”
Eneco Group CEO Jeroen de Haas said Schiphol Group was setting an example for the business sector in choosing new, sustainable forms of energy, which also helped his company to invest in wind farms and other sustainable energy sources.
Meanwhile, Finavia’s Sustainable Development Director Mikko Viinikainen claimed the solar power plant under construction at Helsinki was the largest of its kind at any airport in the Nordic region. With the solar panels in the process of being installed, the plant is expected to be operational shortly and will have a capacity of more than 500 kWp. The airport operator said it was determined to reduce emissions at its other 21 airports, where it would be relying more on other forms of renewable energy, and would be ensuring that companies operating at its airports are committed to using renewables and reducing emissions.
In July, Finavia started using renewable diesel fuel in vehicles operating at Helsinki, with buses travelling between the terminal and aircraft fuelled by biodiesel produced entirely from waste and residue.
As well as these initiatives, Finavia’s 2020 climate programme includes the use of wind power, use of pellet fuels and geothermal energy as heat sources, purchase of eco-friendly vehicles, a substantial increase in LED lighting and eco-friendly terminal construction work.
Finavia’s airport operations produced 32,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2016 and the company says it has reduced emissions by an average of 3% per passenger per year over the past 10 years.
The award by airports trade body ACI at the highest level – carbon neutrality – of its Airport Carbon Accreditation programme was an important milestone in Finavia’s accelerated climate programme, said Viinikainen.
“It is increasingly important that companies set an example in reducing emissions,” he added. “Finavia is committed to working hard to ensure that our airports will not increase their emissions in 2020. In addition to minimising our own emissions, this also means that we are committed to reducing emissions in countries struggling with environmental problems, such as in India, through offset mechanisms.”
Further afield, Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the United States is planning to replace four of its diesel-powered transit buses with Proterra Catalyst E2 zero emissions battery-electric versions. The use of the buses is expected to save 16.9 million pounds (7,600 tonnes) of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of the vehicles. The purchase is being partly funded by a $1.6 million zero-emissions grant from the FAA.