Helsinki Airport to get largest solar power plant

Finavia, the operator of Helsinki Airport, has decided to speed up its climate programme. The aim is to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the operations of all of the company’s 21 airports to zero by 2020.

At Helsinki Airport, this goal will be reached in 2017, when the largest airport solar power plant in the Nordic countries is opened at the airport, and when airport buses start using renewable fuels.

“Now that the international climate policy has faced difficulties through the unexpected withdrawal of the United States, it is even more important that companies lead the way in reducing emissions. Finavia is committed to working hard to prevent our airports from increasing their carbon dioxide emissions in 2020. In addition to minimising our own emissions, this means that we are committed to reducing emissions in countries struggling with environmental problems, such as in India, through compensation mechanisms,” says Kari Savolainen, CEO of Finavia.

At airports, carbon dioxide emissions are mainly caused by the energy consumption of buildings, lighting systems and vehicles. Helsinki Airport plays a central part in reducing Finavia’s emissions. Finavia is also determined to start reducing emissions at its other airports.

Finavia’s climate programme consists of the significant increase in the use of renewable forms of energy, the origin of power and heat, the improvement of energy efficiency in all activities and the compensation of emissions in the markets.

Last year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) made a decision on a CORSIA mechanism which ensures that air traffic emissions do not increase after 2020, even though the number of passengers increases.

Finavia is among the first European airports to invest in a solar power plant to be located at Helsinki Airport. The construction of the power plant is underway on the roof of terminal 2, and it is expected to produce energy starting from late summer 2017.

The entire system, with a total output of more than 500 kWp, will be completed in 2019.

The power plant needs to be built in great detail to prevent, for example, solar panels from causing reflections to aircraft. Solar power will produce nearly ten per cent of the power required in the new energy-efficient terminal areas at Helsinki Airport, Savolainen says.

In addition to Helsinki Airport, Finavia will increase the use of renewable energy at its other Finnish airports, for example, using bioenergy and geothermal heat.

Finavia will significantly increase the use of renewable fuels in ground vehicles at Helsinki Airport during 2017.

Buses travelling between the terminal and aircraft will be fuelled by a diesel product manufactured wholly from waste and residue. In addition, smaller airport vehicles are already mainly powered by electricity. Finavia’s goal is to engage other companies operating at its airports to use renewable fuels.


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