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Chennai airport runs fully on renewable energy

The entire power requirement of the city airport, which handles around 20 million passengers per year, is now met by renewable energy.

 The entire power requirement of the city airport, which handles around 20 million passengers per year, is now met by renewable energy. It uses a combination of power generated from rooftop solar plants, solar energy purchased from firms and also by procuring power under green tariff from Tangedco. This was achieved last month when the use of renewable energy was scaled up from 50%. Solar power is used for runway and taxiway lights too.

“Of the electrical energy utilized by Chennai Airport, 59% is solar energy being procured through third party power purchase, 3% is being met through the in house 1.5MWp roof top solar plant and remaining 38% is being procured from Tangedco under green tariff. This is part of the efforts to make the facility fully energy efficient,” said an Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesperson.

The airport uses on an average 63,92,675 kwh month. The terminal fittings were converted to LED lights. Two years ago, the airport achieved 50% use of renewable energy when it started to tap power from roof-top solar panels installed on the terminal buildings.

A series of green steps aimed at cutting emissions including use of solar energy at the terminals, use of LED lights, efficient use of air conditioning helped the airport to cut carbon emissions by 2,200 tonnes per year and an energy savings of 10 crore through use of solar power.

The fixtures were converted to LED and air conditioning is being used efficiently. This has helped in cutting the emissions. The new integrated terminal, which was recently opened, comes with a green rating as it is designed to be energy efficient, said an official.

 The AAI was planning to install solar panels on the land on the airport campus but that did not take off immediately though a tender was floated. There was also a discussion whether it will come in the way of flight operations as the panels can reflect sunlight. As it was taking time, the authorities went in for other options including purchase of solar power from a third party. The airport may install solar panels as parcels of land have been identified.

In a bid to improve carbon footprint and to reduce pollution, airlines too have started to switch to electric vehicles. With new ground handling agencies taking over, they are likely to bring in electric vehicles for baggage handling and aircraft handling.


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