Hawke's Bay Airport wants to become New Zealand's first carbon-neutral airport by planting a solar farm.
The airport's chief executive Stuart Ainslie outlined the groundbreaking plan to offset the airport's carbon emissions during a stakeholder presentation at a Hastings District Council meeting.
The feasibility of the project is currently being researched but "pending a positive outcome we are keen to move forward as quickly as practicable", Ainslie said.
"Based on being able to deliver the right solutions the airport's goal is to achieve neutrality by 2022," he said.
The solar farm would offset carbon emissions from electricity usage which is the primary internal source contributing to the airport's carbon footprint.
"The project has the potential to supply the airport with 100 per cent renewable energy which provides obvious environmental outcomes," Ainslie said.
To move towards carbon neutrality the airport would also need to offset indirect emissions.
"Longer-term we'd be interested in exploring the use of this to also supply our current and future tenants," Ainslie said.
The location of the solar farm is currently being decided but the airport is "especially interested in utilising airport land that cannot be used for any other type of development", he said.
The specific area of interest is the airport's land inside its Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS), which has height restrictions. Airports in other parts of the world have used land in their OLS areas for solar arrays.
Hastings District Council Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the idea had her support.
"[It's] a great example of a forward-thinking company who are wanting to minimise their effect on the environment".
"We look forward to hearing more about their vision," Hazlehurst said.
The airport has already signed up to the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme and has its first audit scheduled for January.
Airport Carbon Accreditation has four levels of carbon emission status: mapping, reduction, optimisation and neutrality.
There is currently one Airport Carbon Accredited carbon-neutral airport in Australasia, Sunshine Coast Airport in Australia.
Palmerston North airport is currently at the mapping level, and Christchurch Airport at the reduction level of carbon accreditation.
Hawke's Bay Airport aims to head towards neutrality accreditation and is also looking at a revised ground transport strategy to aid in this.
The project also makes the airport more "resilient", allowing the airport to maintain electricity supply during a power outage.