The airport is pursuing an ambitious strategy to decrease its carbon footprint by not only replacing diesel-powered cars in its operations area with electric vehicles, but also by generating all of the electricity they use from renewable sources.
The measure is intended to make the airport more carbon-compliant, as well as to encourage other stakeholders to minimise their carbon impact. "At the moment, Kolkata Airport is in Level-2 compliance. Our goal is to reach the 4+ level that Delhi and Hyderabad airports have attained. This would necessitate the involvement of all stakeholders in order for our operations to turn green" , said Kolkata airport director C Pattabhi.
The most ambitious project is a 40-MW plant on airport-owned property near Badu, Madhyamgram, North 24 Parganas, which would raise the airport's solar power output from 17 Mega Watt (MW) to 57 MW. The facility now has a secondary radar that serves as a backup in the event that the major radar at Kolkata airport fails. The project on 200 acres is estimated to cost Rs 270 crore. The current installed capacity is 15 MW on land and 2 MW on airport building roofs.
Installation will take around six months. The airport will engage into an arrangement with West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) so that extra electricity may be pumped into the distribution company's grid and used by the airport when solar power is not available. The "net metering benefit" will require approval from the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission, according to an official.
The integrated terminal building requires 10-11 Mega Watt of power. It also necessitates power for airport operations.
The airport is asking its partners, including the ground handling agency, airlines, and other service providers such as food companies, to switch to electric cars. With passenger coaches and vehicles used by airlines to become electric, the airport operator has begun planning for the installation of charging stations in the operational area. TaxiBots, or semi-autonomous vehicles, that allow planes to travel from parking bay to runway without using engines, are also anticipated to be deployed at the airport. TaxiBots are now stationed at Delhi International Airport.
"Getting everyone to work together to reach the objective of carbon reduction and getting toward carbon neutrality is a task that we are dedicated to" , Pattabhi said.