West Coast Ports Lead Cruise Industry Shore Power

West Coast Ports Lead Cruise Industry Shore Power
West Coast Ports Lead Cruise Industry Shore Power
Global Ocean Surface Temperatures Map
Global Ocean Surface Temperatures Map

West Coast Ports Lead Cruise Industry Shore Power (see video below) – West coast cruise ports in Canada and Alaska have High Capacity Shorepower Ports, the Gulf of Mexico and east coast ports are laggging behind in cruise port environmental protection, as part of the United States Global Warming Response.

Shore power, also known as “cold ironing” requires landside infrastructure, electrical grid improvements, and vessel modifications.  The relative cost of using shore power instead of a vessel’s own fuel sources is more attractive when fuel costs are greater than electricity costs.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency report which reviews Shore Power Technology Assessment at U.S. Ports outlines the availability of shore power at ports throughout the U.S., and characterizes the technical and operational aspects of shore power systems installed at U.S. ports. Technical information was gathered working in partnership with ports that have installed shore power. The second part of the assessment presents a new methodology for estimating emission reductions from shore power systems for vessels docked and connected to shore power.

Goods and passengers moving through ports are projected to grow as are size of ships due to the opening of the new Panama Canal locks in 2016 and other factors. Some vessel types, such as cruise, container, and refrigeration, can require significant power while at berth. This power is typically generated by diesel auxiliary engines.

Under the right circumstances when a vessel is connected to shore power, overall pollutant emissions can be reduced by up to 98% when utilizing power from the regional electricity grid, (depending on the mix of energy sources).
  • The potential emission reduction benefits may be estimated for a particular vessel, at berth when connected to shore power.  Factors such as the amount of time actually connected, power consumption rate, energy costs and total time at berth are described in the assessment and relate to the overall effectiveness of shore power. Because these factors must be evaluated for each situation, total emission reductions may vary.
  • The assessment suggests that shore power may be most effective when applied at terminals and ports with a high percentage of frequently returning vessels, typically cruise ships and container ships.
Shore Power Locations at U.S. Ports
Shore Power Locations at U.S. Ports

Commercial Marine Vessels Shore Power Not Commonly Available

There are currently ten ports using high voltage systems, serving cruise, container and refrigerated (“reefer”) vessels, and 6 ports using low voltage systems, serving tugs and fishing vessels. Though the technology is relatively new in the commercial sector, shore power has been successfully used by the U.S. Navy for decades, and is included in the Navy’s Incentivized Shipboard Energy Conservation program.

Juneau, Alaska,  Washington State cruise ports of Seattle and Tacoma, as well as California cruise ports of San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach,  San Diego as well as New York cruise port of Brooklyn have all moved towards the relative green technology of shore power with High Capacity Shorepower Ports. Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Baltimore, Maryland have installed Low Capacity Shore power Ports.

Canada Shore Power Technology for Ports Program
Canada Shore Power Technology for Ports Program

Shore power can be used by marine vessels to plug into the local electricity grid and turn off auxiliary engines while at-dock. When using shore power, auxiliary systems, such as lighting, air conditioning, and crew berths use energy from the local electrical grid. Shore power typically produces zero onsite emissions.  The power generation plant that supplies electricity to shore power applications may or may not be within the confines of the port and can be located outside the local air shed. While shore power can reduce auxiliary engine emissions at berth, shore power does not address emissions from boilers or other vessel sources. The assessment also describes other alternatives that may capture emissions at berth.

Canada Shore Power Technology for Ports Program

Country By Port Using Shore Power
Country By Port Using Shore Power

Of paricular interest to us personally, is the Canada Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada conversion to shore power. Nearly all cruise ships out of Seattle, where our office is located,  will call in at least one west coast port, during an Alaskan itinerary.

In 2009, the Canada Place cruise ship terminal became the first in Canada and third in the world to offer shore power for cruise ships. Shore power allows cruise ships to plug into the land-based electrical power grid and shut off their diesel generators, thereby reducing noise and emissions. Canada Place currently has three shore power connection points.

The Shore Power Technology for Ports Program (SPTP) is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to limit air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and to improve air quality in ports near major cities.

The program reduces emissions by reducing ship idling at ports. This is one way Canada is acting on its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020.

The program will provide up to 50% of the funding for implementing marine shore power technology at Canadian ports. This technology allows docked ships to turn off their auxiliary diesel engines and connect to electric power.

Asia Cruise Ship Shore Power Technology

A recent study by Hong Kong authorities estimates that only 35 international cruise ships, about 16 percent, are expected to be equipped to use shore power.

Seven of the world’s 10 largest and busiest container ports are located in China. These booming ports serve as the engines of China’s economic growth. While the ports reap economic benefits from oceangoing commerce, their citizens also bear the environmental brunt: shipping-related emissions.

Most energy consumed by international shipping comes from poor quality “bunker oil” with a high sulfur content. Only a few jurisdictions in northern Europe, North America, and most recently Hong Kong are requiring the use of low sulfur fuel by oceangoing vessels. Marine emissions are known to cause cancer and have been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Studies conducted in Hong Kong and Shenzhen have found a link between the emissions from the shipping industry and negative health and environmental impacts in port cities.

Our video playlist below includes shore power videos to Port of Seattle (WA). Port of Tacoma (WA), Port of Long Beach (CA), Port of San Diego (CA), Port of San Francisco (CA), Port of Hueneme (CA), Port of Vancouver (BC), Port of Hamburg (DE), Port of Halifax (NS), Port of Rotterdam (NL) and Port of Montreal (QC).

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Video: Green Cruise Port Shore Power (17 Video Playlist)