A common international standard on shore-based electrical power supply for ships, when berthed in ports, is expected to be launched next spring.
“A milestone, which will speed up the implementation of a vital environmental measure within international shipping,” says Sigurd Enge, Marine Management Adviser at The Bellona Foundation.
The international joint working group set up to develop the standard, met at the Bellona main office in Oslo last week, coinciding with the launch of Norway’s first ship to be connected to shore-based electrical power supply when berthed in Oslo Port.
No more excuses
“The shipping industry and port authorities have used the lack of a common standard as an excuse not to pursue shore-based electrical power options. We are about to eliminate this excuse,” says Ragnar Gjørven.
He heads the joint working group, which was set up by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the US-based Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The committee consists of 30 members, and includes representatives from major electrical companies, classification societies and international ports.
In Oslo, they put the finishing touches on the standard, bringing a five year process closer to a successful end.
Ships need power, also when berthed in a port – for lighting, ventilation, heating and technical installations. Traditionally, this power is supplied by generators on board, driven by auxiliary engines running on diesel oil or other fossil-based fuels.
By switching to shore-based supply of electrical power, emissions of CO2, NOX, SOX and particles are substantially reduced.
“Apart from reducing harmful emissions affecting local air quality, an increase in shore-based electrical supply for ships could have a substantial impact on efforts to prevent further climate change globally”, says Sigurd Enge.
Standard is essential
In order to speed up the implementation of shore-based facilities, a common standard is vital.
“We have all done it, failed to plug in our mobile phone charger when abroad, because it is incompatible with the local power grid. It is the same for ships. That is why a common international standards is so important to this truly global business,” says Sigurd Enge.
Leader of the international committee, Ragnar Gjørven, adds:
“Bellona has been a solution-driven promotor.”
Some European and American ports and ships have already implemented shore-based electrical power supply, however the solution is still in its infancy.
“The introduction of a common standard will speed up the development,” says Enge.
First in Norway
In Norway, The Bellona Foundation has been instrumental in introducing shore-based facilities at Oslo Port. On 10 October 2011, the cruise ship Color Magic became the first ship to connect. Its sister ship Color Fantasy will be connected next year. When both Color Line ships are supplied with electrical power from shore, mainly generated by renewable hydro power, the Oslo air will be relieved of 3000 tons of CO2-emissions, 0,75 tons of NOX, as well as SOX and particles – emissions corresponding to 1700 cars.
“This means a lot for local air quality in Oslo, which particularly on cold winter days has been well below par the past few years,” says Enge.
A visionary project
Bellona and Colour Line has cooperated for many years through the Bellona shipping programme. To make the shor-based electrical power project come through, Bellona has acted as a promoter and contributed substantially to fundraising from national institutions promoting clean energy options. Oslo Port has also contributed financially, while local energy grid provider, Hafslund Nett, has supplied the necessary infrastructure. Color Line has made the biggest contribution, by investing heavily in their ships.
– Color Line has shown the kind of leadership we need in the shipping industry to make this happen on a global scale, says Sigurd Enge.