New Zealand’s Christchurch Airport said on Thursday that it has selected local utility Contact Energy Limited (NZE:CEN) and UK’s Lightsource bp as its partners on a 150-MW/170-MWp solar project set behind the airport’s runways.
The project is the first phase of the Airport’s renewable energy precinct Kowhai Park, which in future stages will also have a green hydrogen production system, Christchurch Airport said.
Contact Energy and Lightsource bp will put up around 300,000 solar panels at a 300-hectare (741.3 acres) site behind the runways as part of phase one. Once in operation, the solar farm will produce some 290 GWh per year and become one of the largest such power plants in New Zealand, according to the Airport.
Christchurch Airport CEO Justin Watson said that zero and low emission aircraft are not far away and Kowhai Park could help decarbonise flights.
“Our goal is to ensure Kowhai Park is ready to provide the large amount of green energy these new aircraft will need,” Watson said.
Kowhai Park phase one is also the first of a number of planned projects to come out of the joint venture between Contact Energy and Lightsource bp. The two announced their partnership in April 2022, aiming to develop grid-scale solar projects in New Zealand to produce 380 GWh per year by 2026.
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