Livemint: August, 2015
Bengaluru: Kerala’s Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has become the first airport in the world that would be running fully on solar power. The airport officially commissioned a 12 MW solar project on Tuesday.
The state’s chief minister Oomman Chandy commissioned the project constructed on 45 acres near the cargo complex of the airport. The project was executed by Bosch Ltd at a cost of Rs.62 crore in about six months.
Once in operation, the project is estimated to generate about 50,000 units of electricity daily. This, coupled with an an existing 1 MW solar plant commissioned in 2013, which was upgraded from a 100 KW plant set up in the same year, will be enough to meet all power requirements of CIAL, said an airport spokesperson.
In fact, CIAL expects the plant to generate more power than what is required for the airport. It has entered into a pact with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), the state-run utility, for feeding power produced from the station to the power grids of the board. The power would be brought back from the board as per the requirements of the airport and any additional power would be sold to KSEB.
Based on installed capacity, CIAL is the largest project which has been executed by the Bosch Energy and Building Solutions team in India till date, said Steffen Berns, president of Bosch Group India and managing director Bosch Ltd in a press statement.
CIAL director A.C.K. Nair said switching to green energy is almost equivalent to planting 3 million trees or not driving 750 million miles, as the airport would be able to cut carbon-dioxide emission from coal-powered power plants by 3 lakh tonnes over the next 25 years.
Sixteen years into operation, CIAL was the first airport to be constructed in public-private-partnership model in the country. It is also the only airport company that has handled more than five million passengers in a year in Kerala, as per its annual results reported in 2015.
The airport also plans to tap more into the green energy sector in Kerala, a state that has no lack of vast natural resources and has suitable weather conditions to harness renewable energy. CIAL has already floated a proposal before the government to construct floating solar power plants on the water bodies of the state.