To cope with the climate crisis and the even more pressing need to reduce electricity consumption, the airport group has worked to implement a “sobriety plan” that will enable it to honour the commitments requested by the Government. The plan will lead to a 10% reduction in electricity consumption at its three airports, a saving of 3.8 GWh.
Taking into account all of its own consumption sources, the plan focuses on energy challenges related to indoor and outdoor lighting, air conditioning and heating, equipment required for operations, water management and the countless small gestures for a more sustainable lifestyle that can be adopted by the thousands of people who work every day in its terminals. It also includes an ambitious plan to develop renewable energy production sources.
“Given that our activity is subject to a lot of safety and security rules, and operates within a very stringent regulatory framework, we can be very proud of our achievement in identifying new ways of saving energy. It is our commitment with respect to our region, and to France as a whole, because all French citizens are now being asked to adopt those small gestures that make a difference. We were already committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and had already managed to reduce our electricity consumption by 10% despite a 45% increase in our needs over the last few years. This new step proves that airports, along with all their partners, are making a clear contribution to creating a sustainable, responsible air transport sector,” explained Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Board, Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur.
Targeted actions in all areas
In concrete terms, this plan provides for the widespread use of LED lighting whenever possible, for example on the Southern take-off and landing runway, where it leads to a 30% saving compared to traditional lighting. Advertising totems will be switched off at night, both inside and outside the terminals. Likewise, between 1 am and 4 am, street lighting, the blue neon light at the front of Terminal 2 and the access ramp at car park P6 will be switched off. Inside the terminals, lighting will be dimmed or optimised at night, and adjusted during the day according to the amount of daylight available. The same approach will be applied to car parks, walkways and administrative buildings, where lighting will be optimised systematically, either based on usage or by replacing ordinary light bulbs with LEDs. Lastly, the temperature will range between 19° in winter and 26° in summer, and all gas boilers will be removed.
“For staff and passengers alike, that requires some effort, because the temperature might be cool in winter and warmer than usual when it's hot outside, as was the case this week, but we trust people's sense of responsibility and are confident that our collective commitment will produce results,” he added.
Long-term sustainable actions
Although this energy sobriety plan was drawn up as a rapid response to the challenges facing us this winter, it also opens up new perspectives for intensifying the Group's low-carbon strategy and its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint to the strict minimum. That means that some of the measures taken could be extended or reintroduced if required in the future. Above all, this plan will accelerate current projects aimed at providing the airports with a carbon-free energy source for its own needs and those of the air transport sector. Solar panels will be installed at Nice Côte d'Azur and Cannes-Mandelieu Airports – for self-consumption – while a solar farm will be built on the site of Golfe de Saint-Tropez Airport. The farm will produce 6 gigawatts of electricity, but the airport will only require one gigawatt for its own needs and those of electric aircraft. As a result, it will become a solar electricity provider for its region. These two airports are poised to play host to more and more electric aircraft in the future. Enabling them to charge up sustainably and independently from the national grid is one aspect of the Group's ambition to support the ecological transition in the regions it serves.
“Electric aircraft will account for a significant share of private aviation in the next few years, and not just in the business segment. We have always supported and promoted innovations in this area. We will be ready to supply the energy of the future - that's what it means to be the laboratory of the airport of the future,” he concluded.
In the event of an “EcoWatt red alert”
To make sure we are prepared for any worsening of the national energy situation, the energy sobriety plan introduces supplementary or stricter measures. They include extending the time periods during which indoor and outdoor lighting and advertising displays are switched off, as well as some more radical solutions such as imposing a single access door per terminal to reduce heat loss or keep buildings cooler in the summer, or closing one of the two runways from 10 pm to 5 am, provided weather conditions allow.
Since 2015, for Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, or 2016, for the other two airports, the electricity consumed in the terminals is 100% French and from a renewable source. Over the last 10 years, the Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur group has cut its direct emissions by more than 85%, achieving carbon neutrality through offsetting back in 2016. It has already pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by absorbing rather than offsetting carbon by 2030, by reducing its emissions even further and creating natural carbon sinks near its terminals.