Athens Airport Opens New Photovoltaic Park 16 MW, Largest Self-production Facility in Greece
Athens International Airport (AIA) recently inaugurated its new 16-megawatt photovoltaic park for self-production – self consumption purposes.
The largest self-production facility in Greece, the photovoltaic park is already producing approximately 45 percent of the electricity the airport company consumes on an annual basis.
According to AIA, the electricity produced annually, approximately 27,500 megawatt-hours, is equivalent to the consumption of 6,650 households.
The operation of the new 16-megawatt facility will avoid the emission of 71,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the environmental benefits of a forest the size of the airport’s property (16 million square meters).
Route 2025 initiative
The project is part of Athens International Airport’s dynamic sustainable development strategy and environmental responsibility and, in particular, to its “Route 2025” initiative announced in 2019, representing a total investment of some 100 million euros.
The Route 2025 initiative sees AIA zeroing out its carbon dioxide emissions by 2025.
“Despite the extremely grave conditions faced by our industry in the last three years, during which we were waiting for the formation of the framework for self-production and storage (of energy), which was only recently concluded, we proceeded with the phased implementation of the project in order not to lose time with regard to our strategic target, ‘Route 2025’,” AIA’s CEO, Yiannis Paraschis, said during the inauguration event.
AIA’s investment and the Route 2025 programme shows the airport’s commitment to Athens’ tourism product, its contribution to the promotion of the Greek capital as a top destination, but also as a leading destination that’s sustainable for both the city’s residents and visitors.
“We are happy to be inaugurating the largest self-producing – photovoltaic – facility in Greece, an investment that strengthens the identity of Athens as a sustainable destination with its significant footprint,” Paraschis added.
Together with the airport’s first photovoltaic park – 8 MW – that’s been in operation since 2011 (which provides its clean electricity to the national grid), the new 16 MW for self-production purposes produces 2/3 of the electricity required by AIA from clean, renewable sources within the airport fence. This puts Athens Airport in the lead with regard to airports in Europe and worldwide.
When the next phase of the project is completed in 2025, which is estimated to be an additional 45 MW, AIA will have secured the production of all the electricity it needs on an annual basis through 2046 (airport concession), maximizing self-consumption through the use of battery storage. AIA has already submitted the relevant applications to the Regulatory Authority for Energy and other pertinent authorities.
• 60% reduction in AIA’s CO2 footprint since 2005
Between 2005 and 2021, AIA has achieved a reduction in its carbon footprint of more than 60% (from 67,001 to 27,641 tonnes CO2) despite the significant increase in passenger traffic (over the same period), through a series of interventions in the operation of its infrastructure.
• The only carbon neutral airport in Greece since 2016
AIA is the only airport in Greece to have been certified as Carbon Neutral in the Airport Carbon Accreditation program of Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), a certification it has maintained since 2016.
• The “Route 2025” target
In 2019, AIA committed to achieving Net Zero Carbon emissions without offsetting by 2025, well in advance of the target of 2050 announced by Europe’s airports (earlier in 2019). Athens airport’s extremely ambitious target “Route 2025” aims to self-produce energy onsite cleanly using photovoltaics for self-consumption purposes, covering 100% of its needs for electricity, which corresponds to approximately 90% of the company’s carbon footprint.