Simply Energy delivers plug-in power for Auckland airlines

Simply Energy

Wednesday, 06 December, 2017


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Simply Energy has partnered with the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) and Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) to provide an electricity supply and billing solution for docked planes at Auckland Airport.

The initiative is expected to result in significant cost savings through direct supply of wholesale electricity; improved environmental outcomes through a reduction in the use of jet fuel; and an improved health and safety environment through not having to run ancillary jet engines while connected at the gate.

Traditionally at Auckland Airport, and across the vast majority of international airports, airlines have used the aircraft’s auxiliary power units for powering up the plane while connected to the airport bridge. Aircraft auxiliary power units are gas turbines that burn jet fuel.

Now, Simply Energy has implemented a solution to provide the power required for the aircraft directly from the New Zealand wholesale electricity market, which in recent years has consisted of 85% renewable electricity. Airlines can now switch off their auxiliary power units shortly after landing and plug the aircraft directly into an electrical power source at the gate.

Simply Energy Commercial Director Murray Dyer said his company had to address the challenge of having multiple aircraft plugging into the same gate for electricity supply, which required an innovative and flexible billing system capable of successfully managing the complexity of the airline schedules and energy meters — but making it easy for Auckland Airport and the airlines.

With this in mind, Simply Energy implemented a metering, reconciliation, billing and reporting system that captures individual airlines’ codes, date and time stamp connections and disconnections to accurately bill and report usage that the airlines can reconcile against the airline logs.

“With so many airlines docked into the same gate, Simply Energy was required to implement software integrated to the core billing system that could successfully differentiate users, times of use recorded at the minute level, and associate usage,” Dyer said. “We then provided a standardised electricity supply contract, billing and reporting service so that each airline had full transparency with an ability to analyse the data.

Eighteen airlines are currently taking advantage of this arrangement at Auckland Airport to reduce their carbon emissions and decrease their operational costs. Local benefits of this project also include reductions in noise pollution and improvements in air quality at Auckland Airport.

Air New Zealand, the largest operator out of Auckland Airport, reports that it expects to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 5000 tonnes each year. In the first month of trialling the use of ground power across its international fleet while at Auckland Airport, Air New Zealand calculated that it saved 475,000 kg of carbon and 188,000 litres of fuel — more than the volume of fuel required to fly a Boeing 777-300 from Auckland to Los Angeles.

“Simply Energy supplied the electricity directly from the wholesale electricity market that has also provided material cost savings for BARNZ member airlines,” said Dyer. “The important thing for the clients was taking care of all the complexity and providing a turnkey solution. We made it easy for them and have provided substantial benefits.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/JackF

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