Tuesday, October 12, 2010

San Francisco Port Unveils Ship-to-Shore Power System for Cruise Vessels

Port of San Francisco officials have unveiled a ship-to-shore power system that allows cruise vessels to shut off their diesel auxiliary engines while at berth and pull electricity from the less-polluting landside power grid.

The $5.2 million system is the first in California for cruise ships, according to port officials. Currently, the only other ports offering ship-to-shore power for cruise ships are Seattle, Juneau, Alaska and Vancouver, BC. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have systems in place to provide landside power to some cargo vessels.

San Francisco port officials said that each visiting cruise ship can generate up to 140 pounds of particulate matter per 10-hour visit. The new ship-to-shore system is predicted to eliminate more than a ton of particulate matter each year. Large ocean-going vessels can generate up to 50 percent of their total per-call pollution while sitting at the dock.

Port officials said that 15 cruise vessels are currently set up to use the system, but as more of the 50 cruise vessels regularly calling at San Francisco are outfitted to take advantage of the system, the pollution reductions will increase.

Officials said that three of the port's 18 berths are set to be outfitted with the ship-to-shore system by the end of the year. Estimates put the total for equipping the entire port at more than $90 million.

California air quality regulations require that half of all ship calls be provided with ship-to-shore power by 2014.