The energy needs of South Africa’s George Airport are being met through solar energy as part of the country’s efforts to become a fully green economy.
Majority of the airport’s energy needs will be supplied through 200 square meters of photo-voltaic (PV) panels. PV technology generates electricity from solar radiation providing a renewable and clean energy source.
The first phase will involve generation of 750kw through this clean energy source sufficient to meet the airport’s daily needs. This is however expected to increase with plant capacity in future.
The South Africa government has embarked on a programme to transition the country to a low-carbon, resource efficient and green economy. Green transport initiatives form part of government’s strategy to shift the economy towards sustainable industries with low environmental impact.
The South Africa’s Green Economy Strateg is aligned with the country’s National Climate Change Response Policy whose objective is to effectively manage climate change impacts through interventions that build and sustain social, economic and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity.
The greening of George Airport is the result of successful collaboration between government, entities and the private sector in developing the green economy.
The new solar-powered airport will operate on cost-effective and renewable sources to generate energy. It is also expected to simultaneously support South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
Other initiatives that are underway in the transport industry include shifting freight from road to rail and introduction of electricity regenerative braking in locomotives.
In addition, 14 000 taxis are being converted to compressed natural gas, with an expected emission reduction of 23 – 27 per cent per vehicle.