Tuesday, May 10, 2011

California Air Quality Agency Awards $58M for Ship-to-Shore Systems

The air pollution control agency for much of Southern California announced Friday that it had awarded $58 million from voter-approved Proposition 1B funding for ship-to-shore power projects at major ports in the state.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District awards will provide funding to help build 25 ship-to-shore systems for ships calling on area ports. Ten ship-to-shore systems will be built at the Port of Los Angeles, 12 at the Port of Long Beach and three at Port Hueneme. Currently, the Port of Los Angeles has four such systems and the Port of Long Beach has three. All of the projects are expected to be complete by the end of 2013.

Ship-to-shore systems allow vessels at outfitted docks to plug into the landside power grid for electricity to keep the vessel's onboard equipment and systems operating while berthed. Most vessels supply this power by running onboard diesel auxiliary engines, one of the leading generators of air pollution during a vessel call. Vessels plugging into a ship-to-shore system can shut off their auxiliary engines, cutting their emissions generated per call by up to 50 percent. Most vessels must be specially modified to plug into a ship-to-shore system.

Also included in the AQMD announcement was a $1.6 million award to Carnival Cruise Lines to modify one passenger cruise ship in its fleet so that it is capable of using ship-to-shore power while docked at the Port of Long Beach cruise terminal. AQMD previously awarded Carnival $5 million for the installation of a ship-to-shore system at the Long Beach cruise terminal. The project is expected to be completed this fall.

“The projects approved today will eliminate thousands of tons of pollution during the next decade,” AQMD Governing Board chairman William Burke said. “Clean, zero-emission technology is here and we must accelerate its use now for the health of all Southland residents – and especially those living in communities near the ports.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, a California Air Resources Board regulation will require an increasing number of container and passenger ships to be capable of using ship-to-shore systems when at berth in California ports.

The shore-side power projects are expected to reduce 762 tons per year of nitrogen oxide emissions, or NOx, and 13 tons per year of particulate matter, or PM, emissions over 10 years. Modifying one Carnival Cruise ship to accept ship-to-shore power will reduce 59 tons per year of NOx emissions and 2 tons per year of PM.