The United Nations Environment Programme is happy to recognise Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) as the world's first fully solar energy-powered airport, its global chief Erik Solheim said today."We are very happy to do it," he said when asked whether UNEP was ready to recognise CIAL as the world's first solar powered airport.
"I really want to go around the world and speak about the success story (of CIAL)," the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme said. "If an airport in Kerala can run on solar power, why can't we do that in terminals in other countries?" he asked.
He hailed the airport, through which more than 10 million people travel each year, for making considerable monetary savings through its solar power plants.The power plant is accompanied by a solar farm, with vegetables grown below and between solar panels.
Solheim said solar energy reduces pollution and can compete with coal powered power plants in terms of expenses. The price of solar energy was cheaper, much better for the environment and for mother earth, he said. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed a contract with Beijing Capital International Airport, which is one of the biggest airports in the world, for sustainable development. Both of the institutions are working together in Waste Management and Energy Production. Beijing is the only airport to get direct association from UN and United Nations is looking forward to have the same relationship with CIAL. V.J Kurian, Managing Director CIAL has shown that the projects regarding Social-welfare and business management are not two different things, Mr. Solheim noted. The top UN official said the modilities of recognising the achievement of the airport has to be worked out and he would discuss it with CIAL managing director V J Kurian. He suggested that a placard be kept at the airport showing the UNEP's endorsement of CIAL as the world's first solar-powered airport.
Ahead of his first visit to the state, Solheim had said in a release that Kerala has long been a leader in human development and he was excited to be visiting the state and learning more about environmental innovation.
"Many countries in the world have much to learn from the state's experiences with the first fully-solar powered airport in the world, a clear example that being environment-friendly is now a conscious business decision for many," a UNEP release quoting Solheim had said. “We are really glad to see the interest of UN in CIAL’s green initiatives. UN recognition will definitely give us inspiration and perseverance. The sustainability of the project is important. We have to take up more similar projects to sustain the airport power neutral, that too through the effective utilization of alternative sources “- added V.J.Kurian.
Dechen Tsering (Regional Director of UNEP), Athul Bagai(Chief of India), Muralee Thummarakkudy( Chief-UNEP disaster management division),A.C.K Nair (Airport Director), A.M Shabeer (Executive Director), Jose Thomas (General Manager), Sunil Chacko (CFO) were present at the function.