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Athens Airport Going Solar, 0% Carbon Ground Operations by 2025

The National Herald

FILE - Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Spata, near Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS - Already acclaimed as one of the world’s best and most innovative, the Athens International Airport (AIA) is planning to eliminate all ground-based carbon emissions by 20205, which would make it the first to Europe to accomplish the goal.

Chief Executive Yiannis Paraschis pledged Zero Percent Carbon by 2025 while speaking to the airport’s seventh annual Airport Chief Executives’ Symposium event in Athens after signing a deal with Olivier Jankovec, Director General of the Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe,) said PV Magazine.

The historic Route 2025 commitment does not apply to airplanes, the biggest emitter of carbons, nor passenger cars using the airport but is designed instead to meet all of the airport’s electricity needs from renewable energy and storage as well as finding sustainable alternatives to the complex’s other fuel consumption requirements, the site said.

The airport will submit plans for development of on-site solar power generation and energy storage facilities to meet the international airport’s electricity demand – which makes up 91.1% of AIA’s current carbon footprint.

A second plan deals with contribution measures such as electric vehicles, biofuel and heat pumps, with Paraschis saying the overall scheme is “ambitious but feasible,” and the boldest made by any airport in Europe, far ahead of a 2050 deadline suggested by rival operations at the 29th ACI Europe Congress held in Limassol, Cyprus in June.

AIA already has an 8 MW solar project, which generates around 13 GWh per year to provide around a quarter of the complex’s electricity needs and 13% of its energy requirement, an airport spokesperson told the magazine.

The airport’s electricity needs have soared over the past few years of record-breaking tourism and air passenger traffic that has made Athens a busy destination, doubling in arrivals from 12.5 million in 2013 to more than 25.5 million this year.

In September, Greece pledged to phase out coal from its electricity system by 2028 as part of a New Democracy government national energy plan to create more solar use in a country which gets some 2,848 hours of sunshine annually, the hope to generate 5 GW of solar capacity additions by 2020 to go along with 2.7GW installed.