ICAO and UNDP solar-at-gate airport pilot project launched at Jamaica's Norman Manley International
JCAA’s Rohan Campbell and ICAO's Jane Hupe launch the solar-at-gate pilot project
Thu 26 Apr 2018 – A collaborative initiative involving ICAO and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has been launched at Jamaica’s Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston that will provide renewable power to aircraft gate facilities. The project, with a further facility on the Caribbean island to be added, involves the installation of gate electrification equipment, along with a solar power generation facility. Solar panels have been installed on the roof of a parking lot and the energy generated covers the full power requirement for aircraft operations at one gate. Funding for the project has come from the Global Environment Facility and the intention is to replicate it globally, at a larger scale and in particular to airports in all Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It would bring both environmental benefits and help the economic sustainability of such airports because of the high cost of energy in their operations, says ICAO.
The new solar-at-gate facility being installed aims to replace the use of jet fuel-powered aircraft auxiliary power units and diesel-fuelled ground power units to eliminate CO2 emissions. With 324 individual solar panels and four inverters installed, a total capacity of 100kW DC power will be available, with CO2 savings the equivalent of removing 113 cars from the roads for a year or the annual carbon sequestration of 252 hectares of forests.
Learning the lessons from the destruction of solar facilities by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the airport solar project is the first to be designed in the Caribbean to revised category V standards. Rigorous assessments were made to ensure the facility met safety requirements and the glare from the solar panels did not affect the air traffic control tower or pilots on approach.
The inauguration ceremony on Tuesday was attended by 75 officials from the Caribbean region, representing civil aviation authorities, airport authorities, policy makers, international organisations, renewable energy developers and other national aviation stakeholders. It was organised by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) and the Airports Authority of Jamaica in collaboration with ICAO’s North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) office in Mexico City.
“The importance of this flagship project for the aviation sector in Jamaica, and for other SIDS in the Caribbean, is hard to overestimate,” announced JCAA Deputy Director General Rohan Campbell.
Added Jane Hupe, ICAO Deputy Director, Environment: “For some SIDS airports, energy can constitute a major operational cost. The use of sustainable energy sources therefore helps them to take a significant and very positive step toward greater economic and environmental sustainability. ICAO started this journey at the request of our Member States in 2010, and it’s our hope that other SIDS in the region and around the globe will follow this example and replicate similar projects.”
The launch was followed by a two-day capacity building seminar supporting solar-at-gate and other low-emission aviation initiatives, and to help provide assistance to other SIDs to pursue similar renewable energy projects.
Global Environment Facility funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreement. Support is provided to government agencies, civil society organisations, private sector companies, research institutions and other partners to implement projects and programmes in recipient countries. The GEF Trust Fund was established just prior to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, is administered by the World Bank and funding comes from 39 donor countries. Financial contributions are replenished every four years and for the current 2014-18 cycle (GEF-6) the fund stands at $4.43 billion dollars.