Cochin International Airport Ltd wins UN's highest environmental honour

The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has bagged the 'Champion of Earth Prize -2018', the highest environmental honour instituted by the United Nations (UN).

Published: 27th July 2018 06:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th July 2018 06:52 AM   |  A+A-

Cochin International Airport | Express Photo

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has bagged the 'Champion of Earth Prize -2018', the highest environmental honour instituted by the United Nations (UN).

CIAL has been selected for the award for its successful execution of one of the revolutionary ideas of using solar energy, which made CIAL the world's first fully solar-powered airport, according to authorities.
"This is the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade and reflects your leadership in the use of sustainable energy," stated a communique signed by Erik Solheim, United Nation’s global chief of Environment, and Executive Director of UNEP, and sent to CIAL managing director V J Kurian.

"As the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, you set an ambitious example that we hope many others will follow. The award will be presented at a gala ceremony on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York on September 26, 2018,” it stated.

Earlier, a UN team led by Erik  Solheim had visited CIAL to know about its solar initiatives and held discussions with the authorities. The UN established the 'Champion of Earth' award in 2005 to recognise outstanding environmental leaders from the public and private sectors and civil society. CIAL has been chosen for the award under the ‘Action and Inspiration' category, which recognises individuals or organisations that have taken bold environmental action, and in doing so, inspired others to follow in their footsteps.

CIAL had commissioned its 12 MWp solar power plant on August 18, 2015. It scaled up the installed capacity to 30 MWp in April 2018.

V J Kurian said the UN recognition would transcend CIAL’s green ideas to a global audience. “We showed the world that big infrastructure projects like airports can be put into operation fully using alternative energy sources. By September 2018, the solar capacity at CIAL will be increased to 40 MWp, with a power potential of 60 million units per annum and resulting in a cost saving of approximately `40 crore per annum to the airport.  This will also cut down CO2 emission by more than 9 lakh metric tonnes over the next 25 years, which is equivalent to planting 90 lakh trees," Kurian said.

In order to ensure optimum land utilisation, CIAL has successfully implemented organic farming of vegetables in the area between solar panels.


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