Avinor, the public operator of Norwegian airports, says that electric planes could be used for all the country’s domestic flights by 2040.
One of Europe’s largest oil producers, Norway is upping its commitment to clean transport such as electric cars and hybrids, sales of which have been outstripping those of petrol and diesel cars since early 2017. The shift is partly due to the Scandinavian nation’s radical environmental legislation, which includes incentives and heavy taxes.
The country is now looking to electrify the skies, with Avinor chief executive Dag Falk-Petersen recently announcing that all domestic flights in the country will be electric by 2040.
“We think that all flights lasting up to 1.5 hours can be flown by aircraft that are entirely electric,” said Dag Falk-Petersen. That time period would cover all domestic flights and those to the nearest Scandinavian capitals. The idea is to phase in electric flights over the next two decades.
The plans represent another step forward in the fight against pollution. According to official statistics, air transport accounts for 2.4% of Norwegian greenhouse gas emissions for domestic traffic and more than double that amount if international flights are considered. The country’s media has praised the plans, with the website The Local pointing to other advantages, such as the reduction of noise levels and operating costs.
The quest for energy sources
It has yet to be determined which energy sources will be used to power these electric aircraft. The potential solutions, which include wind power, thermal power stations, nuclear power stations, hydroelectric dams and solar energy, each have different ecological footprints, such as blighting of the landscape, the emission of CO2 and pollutants, low output, storage problems and the generating of radioactive waste.
Making this transformation is no easy task, though in environmental terms it is preferable to the current situation. Furthermore, the next two decades will no doubt see significant improvements being made in the storage of energy, output and methods of producing electricity.
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