DAA plc

06/10/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/10/2024 04:47

More than 10% Of Dublin Airport’s Electricity To Be Provided By New 9MWp Solar Farm

More than10% of Dublin Airport's current annual electricity needs will soon be provided by a new 9MWp solar farm under construction on the airport campus. daa made the announcement while welcoming Jack Chambers, Minister of State for Transport, on a visit today to the 28-acre site located close to the south runway and visible from the R102.

11,000 solar panels have been installed to date by Enerpower, one of Ireland's leading providers of renewable energy solutions, with a total of 15,000 overall to be installed by the end of September. The solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are a clean and renewable energy source, converting sunlight directly into electricity using PV cells and emitting no greenhouse gases or pollutants. Once completed and commissioned this autumn, the solar farm is expected to generate 7.46GWh per annum, which is 11.8% of Dublin Airport's annual consumption and the equivalent of powering approximately 1,600 houses for a year. This is sufficient to cover the electricity needs of the entire airfield, with excess electricity contributing to the energy needs of the airport terminals and campus.

This renewable energy source will help Dublin Airport meet its commitment to reduce its direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 51% by 2030, which aligns with the public sector targets set as part of the National Climate Action Plan, and ultimately towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Dublin Airport's capital investment plan, together with the Infrastructure Application submitted to Fingal County Council in December 2023, identify a suite of projects that will provide sustainability benefits with investments totalling €400 million.

Dublin Airport also continues to work with its aviation and transport partners to find ways to reduce carbon emissions (Scope 3) which are outside of Dublin Airport's direct control. These emissions emanate from many sources including aircraft flight emissions and passenger transport to and from the airport. Dublin Airport is supporting its airline customers' exploration of sustainable aviation fuels and the possibilities of hydrogen and electricity powered flight. It is also supportive of ambitious public infrastructure projects including MetroLink and BusConnects, which will reduce passenger emissions as they travel to and from Dublin Airport.

Welcoming the development, Minister Chambers said:"I am very pleased to have been able to visit the new solar farm today at Dublin Airport and see first-hand how Dublin Airport is embracing sustainable energy practices in order to meets its commitment to reducing its emissions by 51% by 2030. The energy produced by the farm every year will be enough to power more than 10% of the airport's electricity needs or the equivalent of 1,500 homes, which gives an indication of the scale of this project.

"daa has a very ambitious programme of decarbonisation and the development of this solar farm is a key part of that programme to reduce its emissions in line with commitments under the National Climate Action Plan. I want to commend daa and everyone involved in the initiative, and I look forward to work on the solar farm being completed in the autumn at which point the energy generated by the farm will be sufficient to cover the needs of the whole airfield."

Andrea Carroll, daa Group Head of Environmental Sustainability, said:"The scale of this project marks a sizeable investment in future energy at Dublin Airport and a big shift away from fossil fuels. Solar energy is just one of the projects we are evaluating to reduce the direct emissions of our airport operations. As a key part of the aviation industry, we will continue to do everything that we can to make our airports sustainable for now and the future, and to support initiatives reducing emissions across the industry."

Vincent Harrison, daa Chief Commercial and Development Officer, said:"Ireland is a small, open island economy and aviation has been an essential engine of our economic growth and prosperity for more than 80 years. The challenge now is to transform into a zero-carbon industry as quickly as possible, while continuing to meet our mandate to support Ireland's connectivity needs. While the aviation industry doesn't have all the answers yet, daa is committed to halving the emissions under its direct control and today's announcement is further evidence of the progress we are making. We have allocated €400 million to innovative sustainability initiatives and look forward to announcing more ambitious projects."

Dublin Airport is reviewing a second phase of the solar farm project, which would be a similar order of scale and located on the airport campus. To appropriately incorporate the solar installations and other related renewable and alternative fuel technologies, the airport is in the process of completing a thermal storage project and actively pursuing battery energy storage solutions (BESS). The deployment of energy efficient technology across the campus remains a key part of the airport's decarbonisation strategy, with the ongoing deployment of LED lighting, fixed electrical ground power (FEGP) for aircraft and electric vehicle (EV) fleet and charging point upgrades among other solutions. The potential for other renewable energy onsite including geothermal energy is also being assessed. Other recent initiatives include a 90% reduction in carbon emissions from airside vehicles by switching from diesel to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and participating in government taskforces on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and Hydrogen to accelerate these alternatives.

Cork Airport is also progressing plans for solar power onsite. It is designing an elevated solar farm over the existing 'Holiday Blue' surface carpark which will be submitted for planning in the next 12 months. It is intended that this 1.8 MWp solar farm will deliver up to 30% of Cork Airport's energy needs when complete. Cork Airport is the best performing commercial semi-state body in the State as measured by SEAI in terms of energy saving for the last two years in succession and has implemented energy-saving measures including a full LED replacement on campus, renewal of all the runway lighting with low-energy alternatives, a new state-of-the-art electrical substation, energy management and monitoring software, and replacement of light fleet with electrical vehicles.