Environment and Climate
Austria’s largest photovoltaic system went into operation on Thursday at Vienna Airport in Schwechat (Brück an der Leitha district). 55,000 solar panels on 24 hectares provide 24 MW of peak power output.
According to the airport, it now operates eight photovoltaic systems and thus derives about 30 percent of its annual electricity consumption from solar power. Another expansion is planned for this year. Vienna Airport will run its entire operations CO2-neutral from 2023, CEO Günther Offner emphasized on Thursday. 30 million euros have been invested in photovoltaic systems alone. The same amount went into energy efficiency measures. Offner also announced that Austria’s largest facility will be expanded by another third during the year.
In future, 30 percent of electricity demand will be from solar energy.
The board of directors continued, the initial 55,000 panels would supply the entire airport system with electricity independently of the grid. In the afternoon, when the sun is shining, it can still be fed. The next step will be the internal production of hydrogen as an energy storage medium. What Offner called for on Thursday was a simplification of the approval regime for renewable energy.
Aviation takes responsibility, although it causes only a small portion (2.7 percent) of global CO2 emissions, said CEO Julian Jagger. He sees the greatest opportunity for climate protection in synthetic fuels. Technology is, in addition to an essential addition, also requires investment in research and development.
Lower Austria’s governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner (OVP) described the new photovoltaic system at the airport as an important step towards climate neutrality. In any case, this is a showcase example of what imitators will find. A European alliance is needed when it comes to synthetic fuels.
“Innovation is at home here,” said Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPO) on the sidelines of the system’s commissioning at the airport in Schwechat. This is an example not only for Austria but also for Europe. Ludwig and Mikl-Littner showed understanding for the desire to remove bureaucratic obstacles. For Vienna, the mayor announced the decision that no approval would be required for small photovoltaic systems in the future.
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