The European Defence Agency has signed a contract with a European energy consortium to install and operate a solar facility at Paphos Airbase, in Cyprus. It will provide clean energy to this military site for the next 20 years.
With as many as 11,5 hours of sunlight per day during the summer, the island of Cyprus is a paradise for European tourists in need of their annual dose of sunshine. But, for the next 20 years, the energy of the sun will also be harnessed for an entirely different purpose: the National Guard airbase of Paphos will now be powered by a state-of-the-art solar facility, designed to generate peak power of about 5 MW for the next two decades.
The European Defence Agency (EDA) finalised a contract with a European energy consortium composed of Gamma Solutions (Spain), Schneider Electric (France) and Hanwha Q Cells (Germany) in order to supply, install, operate and maintain this solar facility until 2034. “This initiative is part of “Go Green”, the first collaborative defence energy project to go live in Europe”, Tom Bennington, co-chair of the Project’s Management Group at EDA, stresses. “It marks the beginning of a journey that will see increased use of renewable energy by the military, with a long-term objective of reducing fossil fuels dependency by as much as 80% by 2050”. Four countries are currently involved in this project: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece and Luxembourg.
This contract effectively brings to an end the pilot phase of an EDA “Category B” project launched in March 2012. The concept sought to capitalize on the spare capacity of defence estates, including land and buildings, for solar power generation. The basic concept was then brought to market through the Competitive Dialogue procurement model, which allowed various solutions to be tested and refined by MoD and industry experts working in close cooperation.