Delhi airport becomes India’s first to run entirely on hydro and solar energy

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport has switched to hydropower and solar energy for its consumption needs from June 1, making it India’s first airport to run entirely on a combination of these forms of green energy, said operator Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on Wednesday.

In 2015, Cochin International Airport in Kerala became the world’s first airport to run solely on solar energy. DIAL says that while they use a combination of hydropower and solar, much of this now relies on water. This is part of the airport’s goal to achieve the ‘Net Zero Carbon Emissions Airport’ target by 2030, according to DIAL.

As of June 1, about 6 percent of the airport’s electricity needs are supplied by on-site solar power plants, with the remaining 94 percent of energy coming from a hydroelectric plant, it said.

“The solar power plants are located on the airside and on the roofs of the cargo terminals of the IGI airport. For hydropower, DIAL has signed a long-term electricity purchase agreement (PPA) with a Himachal Pradesh-based hydropower company to supply hydropower to the airport until 2036,” said a spokesperson for DIAL.

Delhi airport has an airside 7.84 MW solar power plant, while it has recently added another 5.3 MW solar power plant on the roof near the cargo terminal as part of a stakeholder collaboration.

This transition to renewable energy is expected to help the airport reduce its energy emissions by 2 lakh tons of carbon dioxide per year, the operator said. The airport had announced in November last year that it wanted to be a Net Zero Carbon Emission airport by 2030.

“DIAL has worked relentlessly for environmental sustainability and has set itself the goal of making Delhi Airport a carbon neutral airport by 2030, well ahead of the global target of 2050. To achieve this, DIAL recently adopted a green transportation program, and now reached a new milestone in the green energy program for IGI airport. Delhi Airport has long been using solar energy and now supplies the main electricity needs of a hydroelectric power station. Running Delhi Airport entirely on renewable energy sources is indeed an important milestone that DIAL has achieved,” said CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar.

The other green initiatives at the airport include green buildings, green transport measures such as electric vehicles, improving operational efficiency to reduce emissions and managing greenhouse gases (GHG) as part of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACI) of the Airport Council International ( ACI).

In 2020, Delhi airport also became the first in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve ‘Level 4+’ under ACI’s airport carbon footprint accreditation program.

In 2019, DIAL had introduced TaxiBots – a vehicle that allows planes to taxi without turning on their engine, further reducing CO2 emissions, while this year for World Environment Day it announced that it would add 62 electric vehicles to its fleet in the coming three to four months, gradually eliminating all diesel and petrol vehicles.

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