The long-promised shore power connection is already up and running at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, New York City, which is a major step towards reducing air pollution from port facilities.
Connecting to Con Edison power grid will allow cruise ships to run their onboard systems without using generators – an arrangement that will eliminate a calculated 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 95 tons of nitrous oxide and 6.5 tons of particulate matter annually, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation that operates the terminal.
The shore power system allows ships to reduce harmful fuel emissions while berthed at port, this way drastically improving health and quality of life in local communities.
In 2010 the Port Authority of NY/NJ estimated that improvement to air quality could yield public health benefits of $99 million over 15 years. That was a key element in community groups around the terminal’s Red Hook neighborhood pushing for shore power.
Beyond the infrastructure cost, the project was delayed by haggling over the price of power – in an era where cheap fuel prices made shipboard generation more economical. The costs are subsidized in part by the EDC and the New York Power Authority, with terminal user Carnival Cruises picking up the rest.
Brooklyn is only the second East Coast USA cruise terminal, after Halifax (Nova Scotia), to install shore power. Costs are about $10 million to service one slip, and involve substantial infrastructure improvements. Ship operators must spend around $1 million to make a vessel shore power ready, according to a study issued in August by Massport in Boston.
California is pushing to have shore power and equivalent emission reductions for 90% of ships in its ports by 2020, but as yet there are no East Coast shore power terminals for container vessels.
Demand on the energy grid is substantial too. A typical container ship in port uses about as much energy as a single terminal at Boston’s Logan Airport. The cruise ship Queen Mary 2 requires 13 megawatts, equal to the entire airport. That liner will be the first paying power customer when it docks at Brooklyn Saturday.