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New Jamaica “solar-at-gate” pilot project a big step toward more sustainable aircraft gate power solutions for small island States

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A pilot project was launched on 24 April 2018 that will see new renewable power sources for aircraft parked at airport gates being introduced at two facilities in Jamaica, beginning with Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA). The project involves the installation of gate electrification equipment, along with a solar power generation facility.

To power on-board systems and provide heating and cooling while parked at their gates, aircraft traditionally make use of jet fuel-powered auxiliary power units (APUs) or diesel-fuelled ground power units (GPUs). The new solar-at-gate solution being installed in Jamaica will eliminate the carbon dioxide emissions from former fossil fuel powered APUs and GPUs, demonstrating a practical and cost-effective means by which the Caribbean country and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) can reduce their aviation carbon emissions.

“This new solar-at-gate solution will replace carbon intensive sources of energy for parked aircraft with more sustainable renewable options,” said Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) Deputy Director General, Mr. Rohan Campbell. “The importance of this flagship project for the aviation sector in Jamaica, and for other Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean, is hard to overestimate.”

Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) Deputy Director General, Mr. Rohan Campbell, and ICAO Deputy Director, Environment, Ms. Jane Hupe, launch a pilot project that will see new renewable power sources for aircraft parked at airport gates being introduced at two facilities in Jamaica, beginning with Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA).

The inauguration ceremony for the new gate technology was attended by some 75 officials from the Caribbean region, representing Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA), airport authorities and other national aviation stakeholders, in addition to policy makers, international organizations, and renewable energy developers. It was organized by the JCAA and the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), in collaboration with ICAO’s North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) Office in Mexico City, and falls within the framework of a collaborative project being undertaken by ICAO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Ms. Jane Hupe, ICAO Deputy Director, Environment, mentioned in her ceremony remarks that “For some SIDS airports, energy can constitute a major operational cost. The use of sustainable energy sources therefore helps them to take a significant and very positive step toward greater economic and environmental sustainability. ICAO started this journey at the request of our Member States in 2010, and it’s our hope that other SIDS in the region and around the globe will follow this example and replicate similar projects.”

The inauguration ceremony was followed by a two-day capacity building seminar in support of solar-at-gate and other low emission aviation initiatives, and which will provide a forum to assist other SIDS to pursue similar renewable energy projects.

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