Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen and airport MD Phil Forster welcomed SSE's Phil Clements, centre, to the airport. Credit: TVCA

Solar farm lined up for Teesside Airport

SSE Energy Solutions said that the facility could deliver enough green energy to power 17,000 homes.

An agreement has now been reached between the energy firm and Teesside International Airport which will see a solar farm installed at the airport.

The first phase of the project is due to enter construction early next year and will see up to 3MW of solar generation initially installed to meet airport and local demand.

Further phases could ultimately deliver 50MW of capacity over the coming years, potentially giving it the capacity to displace more than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network each year.

FTSE 100 firm SSE has also signed a lease to open a base at the airport.

Given the volume of clear space land demanded by airports, solar arrays seem an obvious road to pursue, and among the other airports to go down this road is Newcastle, which opened a solar farm at the south-eastern end if its runway this summer.

On the Teesside deal, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This landmark agreement has the potential to deliver one of the biggest solar projects of its size in the UK and will deliver our ambition to make the airport net zero. Indeed, it likely means the airport will be the first in the country to be carbon-neutral.

“Our work with SSE Energy Solutions again proves how we can attract the biggest and best companies to our region to work on innovative schemes, which provide well-paid, highly skilled jobs and serious investment while also delivering a greener future.”

Teesside Airport announced plans in 2022 to make its operations net zero by the end of the decade through the decarbonisation of its buildings and infrastructure and development of sustainable aviation fuel production in the region.

There are also plans to install a new ultra-rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging hub powered by the solar array.

Neil Kirkby, managing director at SSE Energy Solutions, said: “This fantastic project aligns perfectly with SSE Energy Solutions’ strategy to help local authorities transition to a net zero carbon future, while creating great opportunities for local people.

“To achieve this, we are building a strong presence within Teesside through the creation of a regional hub, the like of which we’re also establishing in many other regions across the UK.”

Phil Clements, director of energy infrastructure at SSE Energy Solutions, said: “I’m thrilled that our project takes a great step towards establishing a net-zero carbon future for the people and businesses of Teesside. I’m proud that SSE is playing a part in helping deliver the decarbonisation plan set out by Mayor Houchen’s Combined Authority, and in doing so bringing jobs and additional investment to the area.”

Perth-headquartered SSE is investing £10m a day to establish clean energy infrastructure across the UK by 2026.

The announcement follows confirmation in August that Teesside Airport will become home to a permanent hydrogen refuelling station after being successful in the government’s latest £8m hydrogen transport hub demonstration.

In other news, Teesside Airport said last week that part of the terminal building will be converted into an aviation training academy, a partnership with Teesside University that will cover airport roles such as air traffic control, management and engineering.

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