Following on from the Environmental Roadmap undertaken in Summer 2022, Egis-operated Ostend-Bruges International airport has announced major plans to generate 100% green electricity for itself, its sister airport Antwerp, and 10,000 local families. The production of solar energy will save 9,600 tons of CO2 every year.
The airport management organised a detailed tender invitation and evaluation process for its new solar park, eventually selecting energy company EnergyVision to instal 66,200 solar panels on the airport grounds. Explains Ostend-Bruges Airport CEO Eric Dumas: “We chose EnergyVision on the basis of the overall environmental contribution of their proposal, the global added value for the airport and the economic contribution to the financial results of the airport (revenues and electricity price).”
Installation will begin in Autumn 2023 and will make the airport the second largest solar panel park in Belgium. The panels have a total capacity of over 40MWp. The airport is thus making its own energy consumption, that of Antwerp Airport and that of almost 10,000 Ostend families 100% green.
EnergyVision, which is responsible for installation, maintenance and financing, is investing 35 million euros in the installation of the solar panel park. The solar panels at the airport will account for an annual production of nearly 37,000 MWh.
Green power for the airport and the neighbourhood.
The energy generated will initially be used to supply electricity for the entire airport site. However, with an annual electricity production of almost 37,000 MWh, the airport will generate much more electricity than it can consume itself. Therefore, part of the green power generated will be diverted to Antwerp International Airport. The remaining power generated will go directly to local residents.
Adds Eric Dumas: "As well as greening our own power consumption, the remaining energy we get from the solar panels will be able to be used by nearly 10,000 families in the area. For us it is important that our neighbours can also benefit from this."
In a next phase, energy storage capabilities will be added. EnergyVision and Ostend-Bruges International Airport are also looking further ahead and investigating the installation of kinetic tiles, whereby travellers can generate their own electricity as they walk.
More than 60 soccer fields full of solar panels.
The solar panels will be placed at three different locations at the airport. The two largest zones are located on the airport's grass areas next to the runway. The third zone is located on aircraft parking Apron 2. The zone where passengers walk from the gates to the aircraft will be completely covered and roofed with solar panels. This allows passengers to walk to the aircraft in comfort even when it is raining and also generates energy. The total area of the solar park is about 303,864 m2. That corresponds to 61 soccer fields full of solar panels. Ostend-Bruges Airport thus becomes the second largest solar park in Belgium.
In the context of sustainable development, Ostend-Bruges International Airport wants to further commit to its sustainable ambitions and develop into a modern mobility centre. "Every new, green and innovative decision we take also has a positive impact on economic growth in the region. With this, the airport aims to create added value, not only for travellers by focusing on smooth and fast service, but also for its environment," said Eric Dumas.
“The introduction of solar energy at the airport is an important step to further reduce the airport's carbon footprint. We are actively participating in the Airport Carbon Accreditation program, which aims to make airports worldwide carbon neutral by 2050. With this project, the airport is immediately taking a big step in the right direction.”
Image credit: EnergyVision