Over 10pc of Dublin Airport’s electricity to come from solar farm

by Rose Barrett
0 comment

More than10 per cent of Dublin Airport’s current annual electricity needs will soon be provided by a new 9MWp solar farm under construction on the airport campus, claims the daa.

The announcement was made during a visit by Jack Chambers, Minister of State for Transport 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 11.8pc 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 51pc 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 massive planning application for widespread upgrading of infrastructures, as submitted to Fingal County Council in December 2023.

John Carty, Enerpower Chief Commercial Officer with Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State for Transport Andrea Carroll, daa Group Head of Environmental Sustainability and Vincent Harrison, daa Chief Commercial and Development Officer. Picture: Robbie Reynolds

One of the largest ever applications received by Fingal, it identified a suite of projects that will provide sustainability benefits with investments totalling €400m. 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 the airport’s direct control. These emissions emanate from many sources including aircraft flight emissions and passenger transport to/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 further reduce passenger emissions.  

Minister Chambers said, “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 sizable 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 added, “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 90pcreduction in carbon emissions from airside vehicles by switching from diesel to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and participating in government task forces on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and Hydrogen to accelerate these alternatives.

Related Articles