EMA wind turbines to produce a tiny amount of the airport’s electricity

10.5.2011 (GreenAir online)

UK’s East Midlands Airport sets wind power in motion to generate 5% of its electricity


East Midlands Airport (EMA) today unveils two wind turbines that are expected
to produce 5% of the airport’s electricity, enough to power 150 households, and
produce a carbon saving of around 300 tonnes per year.
EMA says it is the first UK airport to install turbines of this magnitude on
an aerodrome and has been passed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Part of the Manchester Airports Group, the airport says the safety case will
now be produced into an ‘off-the-shelf’ product for other airports and businesses,
both in and out of the aviation industry. With a heavy reliance on air cargo operations,
EMA has attracted opposition from local communities over noise intrusion from
night flights but the airport has also managed to claim a number of environmental
firsts in the past two years, following a commitment in 2006 to making its ground
operations carbon neutral by 2012.

EMA partnered with Wind Direct and Wind Prospect, along with other companies
from across Europe on the project, including Wind Technik Nord from Germany. The
turbines measure 45 metres including the rotor blades, which have a radius of
15 metres, and can generate electricity from wind speeds as low as four metres
per second.

Aviation authorities have expressed safety concerns over the siting of wind turbines,
believing them capable of interference with ground radar. According to NATS, the
UK’s air navigation service provider, wind farms can appear as clutter on air
traffic radar displays, as well as degrade the performance of voice communications
facilities and en-route navigation aids. In conjunction with the British Wind
Energy Association and government departments including the Ministry of Defence,
the UK CAA has published guidelines to assist those involved with the development
of wind farms, particularly on their location.

“The turbines will be installed for 20 years and we see it as a significant investment
for the airport and the environment,” commented EMA’s Director of Sustainability,
Neil Robinson. “Working with experienced companies who have a deep understanding
of wind turbines made the process a lot simpler and we are pleased that we can
now use the knowledge that we have gained to help other businesses that are looking
to create a sustainable future and help the environment.”

Other projects that EMA has initiated include a 26-hectare willow farm that will
provide fuel for a biomass boiler in the terminal building, a trial of biodiesel
in passenger transport vehicles and a low-carbon extension to the terminal building.
The airport’s dedicated recycling zone has enabled a recycling rate of 88%, the
highest of any UK airport, it claims.

The airport was the first in Europe to offer WebTrak, the online facility to
view aircraft operations in the airport’s vicinity, and says it is the only UK
airport to successfully retain its ISO 14001 environmental management systems
certification since 2002.


East Midlands Airport – Environment

Wind Technik Nord

Wind Direct

Wind Prospect

UK CAA – Wind Energy and Aviation Interests Interim Guidelines

British Wind Energy Association – Aviation

NATS and Wind Farms

see also

East Midlands Airport clears wind turbines for take off

11.5.2011 (Business Green)

Leicestershire airport unveils two 250kW wind turbines and says two more will
be installed in coming years

East Midlands Airport (EMA) has finished installing two 250kW wind turbines as
part of a trailblazing project that could offer a template for other airports
as they strive to reduce carbon emissions.

EMA officially unveiled the two Wind Teknik Nord turbines yesterday, announcing that they are expected to meet five per cent
of the site’s energy requirements while saving around 300 tonnes of carbon dioxide
a year.

The airport was granted planning permission to install four wind turbines in
March 2008, and a spokeswoman told BusinessGreen that the other two turbines will be erected at some point in the next few years.

She declined to reveal how much money the company spent on the project, saying
only that the wind turbines formed part of a £4m rolling investment programme
in environmental measures.

Other projects include a 26-hectare willow farm to provide fuel for a biomass
boiler in the terminal building, a trial of bio-diesel in
 passenger transport
vehicles, and a low carbon extension to the terminal

EMA originally hoped to install the turbines in 2008, but the project was delayed
as the company had to carry out extensive research to demonstrate turbine safety.
The airport said the safety case will now be turned into an off-the-shelf product
for other airports and businesses to use.

“The airport site has low flying aircraft arriving and departing, so a suitable
place had to be found for the turbines. EMA worked closely with the Civil Aviation
Authority to ensure that all regulations were followed, and suitable wind turbines
also had to be sought,” said the spokeswoman.

“This process was lengthier than first thought, but it was imperative [that it
was successfully completed] before construction could begin.”

EMA is being hailed as the first airport to install medium-sized turbines, but
is not the first airport to harness the power of the wind. Bristol Airport installed
a smaller vertical axis turbine earlier this year as part of an onsite renewables
pilot project.


By comparison, (figures from local campaigners at East Midlands)  it is estimated
that planes flying to and from  East Midlands airport produce around 0.6 million
tonnes [ = 600,000 tonnes ] of CO2 per annum – based on the amount of aviation
turbine kerosene dispensed at EMA.

300 tonnes is around 0.05% of the emissions that the airport is responsible for,
if flights are taken into account.


Greenwash chart
For other glaring examples of (perhaps well meaning but ineffectual) greenwash,
Airport Greenwash
There are a lot of stories about how airports are making savings in their energy
use – which is all very commendable and excellent stuff.  However, it tends to
conveniently ignore the uncomfortable fact that the airport is in the business
of increasing the numbers of flights (and passengers) which cause huge carbon
emissions. Airports are able to only count their emissions on the ground, or for
planes up to 1,000 metres – the landing and take off cycle.
Here are some examples:

Bristol Airport tries out plan for wind turbine – (to cut carbon emissions !)

Newcastle Airport given Carbon Trust award for “being green!   5.10.2010

Willow trees to power East Midlands airport  25.3.2010
Manchester airport goes ‘carbon neutral’… ish
Manchester  – Campaigners scoff at airport plans
Birmingham Airport backs Brazilian rainforest project
East Midlands Airport step up turbines plan
Bristol Airport aims to improve green credentials – with a wind turbine
Soapbox: Airport’s turbine is a load of hot air
Liverpool John Lennon Airport pioneers technology that converts passenger breath
into biofuel
Liverpool Airport first to harness wind power
Manchester airport “goes green” (as long as you don’t include the flights)  22.7.2010
Greenwash: Airbus gets a crafty upgrade by flying the flag for biodiversity . 
and a bizarre one from Tesco

Tesco’s ‘flights for lights’ promotion – every little hurts    6.4.2009