16 November 2023
By Tom Collins
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers TD has officially opened a new, €6.2m electrical substation at Cork Airport, which is set to future-proof the electrical infrastructure at Cork Airport for generations to come. The new, state-of-the-art substation, which was constructed on the airport campus, is set to replace the existing substation which was in place since the opening of the airport in 1961.
Over the course of 24 months of planning, construction, and testing, the new substation was built at a total cost of €6.2 million and delivered within budget and with strong financial support from the Department of Transport. The substation was constructed by Mainline Group, with subcontracting works undertaken by Cumnor Construction Ltd and Douglas Controls, all Cork based contractors. The project supported up to 100 local jobs during its design and construction.
Cork Airport has reduced its energy consumption over recent years through the introduction of a number of sustainable energy initiatives including retrofitting of lighting across the airport campus, the replacement of diesel vehicles with fully electric vehicles and the reduction in gas and electricity usage through advanced energy management and monitoring systems. Cork Airport has a solid foundation in energy management, having been declared best Irish semi-state company in terms of energy reduction and greenhouse gas reduction for two years running by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
As a further indication of Cork Airport’s commitment to sustainable energy, the airport will invest in a new, state of the art solar farm which will generate up to 25% of the airport’s electricity requirements into the future. This project is now at design stage and will advance to planning application in the next 12 months with a view to being commissioned in 2025.
Performing the official opening, Minster of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers TD said: “I am delighted to be here in Cork Airport today to open this new electrical substation. It is the final phase in the overall runway rehabilitation project which started with the runway reconstruction in 2021, and which Government supported with funding of €14.6 million. This substation is a substantial upgrade and improvement to the infrastructure of the airport and enables them to build on the great progress made to date in achieving energy efficiencies and supporting further sustainability initiatives. This investment underscores the commitment shown by Government to support our country’s regional airports, enhancing connectivity and delivering on providing balanced regional development.”
Brian Culloty, Head of Airfield Infrastructure and Resident Engineer at Cork Airport, said: “Cork Airport was awarded Best Regional Airport in Europe by our industry body Airport Council International (ACI) twice in the last 10 years. To be the best you have to be innovative, and this substation contains latest generation switching to seamlessly monitor energy usage across the campus and is linked to our building management system and airfield lighting control system. I am very pleased with this piece of leading-edge electrical infrastructure.”
Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, at Cork Airport said: “Airports are all about planning. As an airport operator, which strives for excellence, you can’t deliver that without good plans. This electrical substation forms a key part of our infrastructure masterplan and pathway to meeting our 50% energy reduction target in 2027, 3 years ahead of the Government’s deadline of 2030. We will serve 2.8 million passengers this year in 2023, and plan to welcome 3 million passengers next year. This project further enhances our infrastructure for sustainable growth into the future.”