Delhi Airport First in India to Run Entirely on Hydro and Solar Energy

As the Delhi Master Plan gets upgraded and infused with technological interventions, urban designers are also focused on making the city’s public infrastructure more sustainable. In this light, the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, has established itself as the first in the country to function entirely on two green energy sources (solar and hydro) since June 1.

According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the airport has committed to the ambitious goal of achieving Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030.

Delhi Airport On the Path to Carbon Footprint Reduction

Delhi’s vulnerability as one of the most polluted cities in the world is no news. If persistent, this degree of environmental degradation will further boost climate change in the region, making the city’s already harsh seasons even more extreme and unpredictable. As a result, all new developments in the area need to keep sustainable practices in mind.

The Delhi Airport shifting to green energy entirely is a significant step in that direction.

The Airport already has onsite solar power plants providing about 6% of the total electricity needed. The cargo terminals of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport have these plants on the airside and on their roofs.

green initiatives delhi airport
The Delhi Airport is on its way to a greener, more sustainable approach to public infrastructure; Source: GMR Group

For the remaining 94%, GMR Group-owned Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with a hydropower establishment based out of Himachal Pradesh for supplying the IGI with hydroelectricity until 2036.

Additionally, IGI is incorporating another rooftop solar plant of 5.3 MW capacity on its cargo terminal. Apart from these initiatives, DIAL has also implemented a green mobility program on its campus.

Eventually, DIAL aims to cut down its carbon footprint by a massive 200,000 tonnes.

The Delhi Airport achieved “Level 4+” under ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program in 2020, making it the first airport in the Asia-Pacific region to do so. This demonstrates that the airport has implemented long-term absolute emission reduction goals in line with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in addition to being a carbon-neutral airport (IPCC) scenario of 1.5 degrees

Key “Green Initiatives” of the Delhi Airport in the Recent Past

As per the Airport Carbon accreditation of the Airport Council International (ACL), the Delhi airport has been rigorously working towards demonstrating green initiatives such as green transportation, development of green energy and usage, plantation of trees, and efficient management of Green House Gases (GHG).

DIAL stated that it will phase out all of its diesel and gasoline vehicles over the course of the next three to four months and add 62 electric vehicles to its fleet in honor of World Environment Day. To further reduce carbon emissions, DIAL unveiled TaxiBots in 2019, a vehicle that enables aircraft to taxi without turning on their engines.

Delhi Airport taxi bots
Taxi Bots at Delhi Airport; Source: GMR Group

The DIAL has also established a 16.6 million liter zero liquid discharge sewage treatment plant, multiple rainwater harvesting structures feeding tanks of 9 million-liters capacity, and water-efficient fixtures on campus.

Some minor initiatives such as terminating the use of ‘single-use plastics’ and promoting the usage of biodegradable materials within the Airport grounds have also been encouraged.

Water management Delhi Airport
Sustainable water management initiatives at the Delhi Airport include rainwater harvesting, sewage treatment, and water-efficient fixtures on campus; Source: GMR Group

Along with the above-mentioned facilities, DIAL has planned to upgrade the vehicles with advancements like safety-enhancing tools, location tracking facilities, saving non-renewable sources, and scheduling maintenance.

The use of “smart” IoT devices on the precincts has further helped DIAL save around 23% in fuel usage for airport rescue and firefighting, airside operations, security, and project and engineering (P&E) vehicles.

Amodini Allu
Amodini Allu

Amodini discovered her love for writing while working as an Editorial intern for an architectural platform, and runs a blog about life through the eyes of an Architect.