Jump to content
  • We'd love for you to participate.

    Create an account

    Ask questions, share experiences and connect.

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

Cruise ship power plan could reduce emissions

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Cruise ship power plan could reduce emissions

Docked vessels may be allowed to plug in

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, in an effort to keep diesel emissions in check, is going public today with plans for a project that could supply mostly green power to cruise ships docked at the city's new cruise ship terminal, officials said Monday.

The commission, working with the Port of San Francisco, wants to sell municipal power to the ships, a practice that could reduce harmful emissions by up to 80 percent, said PUC spokesman Tony Winnicker. The commission will present plans for the project to its governing body today.

Through the program, the city would pay for and create a facility that would provide what amounts to extension cords to ships in port for a fee, Winnicker said.

Plugging in would allow the ships to turn off their engines -- instead of keeping them running to provide power for lights, air circulation and other amenities on board, Winnicker said. The change, he said, would keep tons of diesel soot and sulfur out of the air.

Cruise ships require a supply of about seven to 10 megawatts of power while in port, said Tom Dow, vice president of public affairs for Carnival Corp., the parent company of cruise lines including Carnival and Princess.

That's enough electricity to power 7,000 to 10,000 homes, said Barbara Hale, assistant general manager of power for the commission.

The PUC has not yet set the rates it would charge ships for the electricity, which is known as shoreside power. But the program is not likely to be a big revenue generator for the city, Winnicker said.

"It depends on the cost of the power that we negotiate," he said. "We certainly won't lose money."

The connection facility would be built along with the terminal, whose completion date is still up in the air.

Shoreside power would be good news for Bay Area air quality, said Ellen Johnck, executive director of the Bay Planning Coalition, a nonprofit group that works on maritime issues.

"The fuel used in the diesel engines on the ships, the bunker fuel, has a high sulfur content," Johnck said. "Many ships around the state and nation are looking to use low-sulfur fuel, but it's not always available."

The estimated $2 million needed to build and equip the facility could be budgeted for the 2007-08 fiscal year, Hale said.

San Francisco has the two components it needs to make the green power program effective at reducing emissions: electricity to sell and renewable energy sources, said Michael Crye, president of the Arlington, Va.-based International Council of Cruise Lines, a trade group.

The PUC already sells municipal power to the port and many of its tenants, making shoreside power a natural new step, Hale said.

Two other West Coast ports, in Juneau, Alaska, and Seattle, already have implemented shoreside power. In Seattle, where the program began in 2004, there have been no major problems, said Port of Seattle spokesman David Schaefer.

But not all ships are outfitted to use shoreside power, Dow said.

The improvements needed to make each ship compatible cost about $500,000, so Carnival is looking at the upgrades on a case-by-case basis, he said. The ships would have to be those that dock often in ports that provide shoreside power.

The company has seven ships that are outfitted for shoreside power and is about to add two more, Dow said.

Hale, however, said she's not worried about having enough ships to make the program economically viable.

"It's sort of a build-it-and-they-will-come scenario," Hale said. "The more opportunities there are for these cruise lines to hook up to shoreside power," she said, the more cruise lines will upgrade their ships.

By: Becky Bowman, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...