Vinci Airports is launching one of Fance’s largest shaded power plants using merely the dead space of long and short term car parks. Contracts have been awarded; construction starts in Autumn and production should be operating at full scale in the Summer of 2024. For Brits watching the faltering progress of their redundant new railwayline as it inches through pristine countryside from near London to near Birmingham, the idea of any large engineering project being completed as such a breakneck speed is almost unthinkable. That’s less than a year from start to finish, and the concession to run it lasts until 2047.
The car parks have 5,800 spaces and cover 14 hectares: so too will an integrated roof of solar panels. No-one expects airport car parks to be places of beauty, and parked cars are indifferent to being sheltered from sunlight and rain; all things considered, most drivers would prefer their cars to be under some sort of shelter while they’re off blowing emissions into the atmosphere. When it comes to engineering projects the French take a sturdy approach to planning concerns but in this case objections would seem trivial.
The power output is not trivial. With a capacity of 20 MWp it will produce 24 GWH annually – enough to power the consumption of more than 9,000 inhabitants. This production will be injected into France’s national grid and is estimated to avoid the consumption of 1,600 tons of CO2 every year.
Lyon-Sainte Exupéry Aiport is run by Vinci Airports, who are embarking on similar projects in other airports they run, in the UK, Portugal, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
Are there comparable projects in the UK? Of course not.