Cochin International Airport to inaugurate its first hydropower project

The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is venturing into hydropower production, and its first plant will be commissioned by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Kozhikode district on November 6.

India’s first fully solar-powered airport, CIAL, said in a press release that it is expecting an annual power generation of 14 million units through the plant, which will be constructed at Arippara near Kozhikode, and it will be handed to the state electricity board grid in November first week.

“Despite the pandemic threat, we completed the project in the estimated time. We are sure that this will impart further momentum to set up projects across the state, which has 44 rivers and numerous streams,” said the managing director of the CIAL, S Suhas.

The 4.5 megawatt (MW) power plant was awarded to the CIAL by the Kerala state electricity board as per the Kerala small hydropower policy under the Built- Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) for a lease period of 30 years.

The project across the Iruvazhinji river has been completed without disturbing the fragile eco-system, the CIAL said in a statement. The CIAL also said it had purchased five acres of land from 32 residents after giving them enough compensation, and the total project cost was Rs 52 crores.

The powerhouse will generate around 108,000 units a day during peak flow days, and it is estimated that the plant can be operational in full capacity for 130 days in a year. Annual power generation is estimated at 14 million units, said CIAL adding that it is its largest project after achieving power neutrality in 2015.

According to CIAL, the project at Arippara works on limited storage of water and that no adverse effect will be caused to the environment.

The CIAL received the UN’s prestigious Champion of the Earth Prize for going carbon neutral three years ago. The installed capacity of the airport that is fully powered by solar energy now stands at a 40-megawatt peak, producing 160,000 units a day against its requirement of 130,000 units. In January this year, it also commissioned the biggest floating solar power plant with a capacity of 452-kilowatt hour (KWh).

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