Lithuanian Airports has announced a public tender for design services for solar parks. Land areas totaling about 7 hectares are to be allocated for solar power plants at the airfields of Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports. The energy produced by the own solar power plants could meet about one third of the total energy demand of Lithuanian airports. Energy storage parks are also planned to be built nearby.
"Airfield sites suitable for the installation of solar power plants offer the opportunity to transform airports from energy consumers into electricity producers. At the same time, we will gain a tool to better manage energy costs - to reduce costs when the demand for electricity increases with the electrification of airport transport fleets," says Arnas Dūmanas, Director of the Lithuanian Airports Development Department. He emphasizes that renewable energy projects are in line with the Lithuanian Airports' sustainability strategy and NET ZERO's goal of becoming an environmentally neutral organization by 2030.
It is planned to install a 4.5 MW solar park - plant at Vilnius Airport, 1.2 MW at Kaunas Airport and 0.4 MW at Palanga Airport. The corresponding areas will be allocated on the territories of the airfields: about 5 hectares in Vilnius, 1.5 hectares in Kaunas and 0.5 hectares in Palanga.
The winner of the public tender will have to develop a solar power plant with a total capacity of 6.1 MW, which would meet about one third (about 34%) of the total electricity demand of Lithuanian airports. Palanga Airport would generate the largest share of its electricity from the sun - around 40%. Solar power plants at Vilnius and Kaunas airports would generate 33-34% of the annual energy, which could be used immediately or stored in dedicated energy storage systems (storage units).
The contract for the design services should be signed with the winning company in the first quarter of 2024, with a view to completing the design part by the end of the same year. The contracting work for the solar parks should start in mid-2025 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.
A. Dūmanas, Director of the Development Department of Lithuanian Airports, points out that the planned electricity storage systems would be an important part of the new energy infrastructure. It is estimated that 5 MW and 10 MWh storage capacity should be built at Vilnius Airport, 0.9 MW and 2.5 MWh capacity at Kaunas Airport and 0.5 MW and 1.5 MWh capacity at Palanga Airport.
Storage systems are essential to ensure the stability of the electricity supply and the operation of critical systems in the event of a power failure on the electricity grid. According to Mr A. Dūmanas, energy storage is an important part of the company's transformation from an electricity consumer to a producer, and reflects the latest energy trends, where the use of technology allows to contribute to the stabilization of the grid and to participate in the balancing markets.
Currently, Lithuanian Airports is actively developing a further vision of green energy supply, with the goal of obtaining 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources in the future. As part of the planning of future projects and in order to increase independence from the overall electricity supply, opportunities to contribute to both wind power projects and remote solar parks are already being actively considered.