Solar facilities designed to provide electricity for Terminal Gate Number One at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston were, on Tuesday (April 24), handed over to the management by representatives from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environment Facility.
Jamaica was selected for the pilot of a project dubbed ‘Solar-at-the-Gate’, following the country’s submission of an Environmental State Action Plan.
Under the project, there has been the successful installation of gate electrification equipment at the island’s two main international airports and a solar power-generation facility at the NMIA.
Speaking with JIS News at the handover ceremony, Deputy Director General, Regulatory Affairs, Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Rohan Campbell, said the project aims to reduce power usage from the public grid as well as aircraft generators to provide power while an aircraft is at the gate.
“There are two scenarios that could take place. When the aircraft is parked at the gate, an engine, which is called an Auxiliary Power Unit, would be running. It uses the fuels that are on board the aircraft to supply electrical power to the aircraft while it is there for boarding, loading of cargo, bags, passengers and if there are any maintenance activities,” he informed. Mr. Campbell noted that during these processes, the unit produces carbon emissions.
He said that in the second scenario, when the aircraft arrives at the gate, it is supplied with power from the public grid through the airport power supply.
“It will connect directly to the terminal, and the power is supplied from the grid to the aircraft and also will run air-conditioning units for the aircraft. So the demand of the aircraft will be pretty high at the gate to support boarding and other services,” he said.
The Deputy Director General points out that the ‘Solar-at-the-Gate’ power supply facility will replace the two power sources and, therefore, reduce the carbon footprint of the aircraft while at the gate.
According to Mr. Campbell, the ICAO has committed to contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions, and that Jamaica, through the JCAA, remains united with the global aviation community in the thrust to ensure global environmental sustainability in relation to aviation industry emissions. The project, which is the first of its kind to offer zero carbon dioxide emissions, is expected to provide a model for all ICAO States and, in particular, Small Island Developing States.