Shore power development in the Baltic

Jan 12 2022

Fit for 55 package discussed during BPO’s Board meeting

Baltic ports are well known for the strides they are making towards greening the maritime transport sector and establishing the Baltic Sea region as a model for green shipping. One of the areas in which they are very active is the development of on-shore power (OPS) facilities, which became increasingly more important in view of the Fit for 55 regulation package, recently published by the European Commission (EC).

The aforementioned proposal foresees ports to be obligated to provide on-shore power (OPS) facilities to ships (passenger and container vessels) at any berth starting 2030, as part of the FuelEU Maritime (new initiative included in the package) and revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID; proposed to be converted into a regulation).
Shore power is already available in various Baltic ports but there has been a number of new projects sprouting all over the region, aimed at increasing said availability.

Connecting Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn

Over the recent years, all three of the above ports, have invested simultaneously in onshore power connections at each of the ports, in a collaboration aimed at agreeing standards and solutions. Now the final part of the puzzle is in place to make it possible for the ferries operating on the Helsinki - Tallinn route to connect to onshore power. All of the ferries operating on other routes between the ports, Stockholm – Helsinki and Stockholm – Tallinn, already connect to onshore power at the quayside.

This joint initiative means that all of the ferries operating services between the three ports will soon be connected to onshore power. The reduction of greenhouse gases as a result of the ferries operating between the three ports connecting to onshore power is estimated to be more than 18k tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Ferry connections between the countries are of great importance to the supply of goods and transport of passengers. Under normal circumstances (times of non-pandemic) there are 200 cargo-loaded ferry sailings a week in total between the three ports. Each year approximately 4.5m tonnes of freight, or 380k haulage vehicles/trailers and 12m passengers travel by ferry between the three capital cities.

Inaugurating shore power in Warnemünde and Copenhagen

The shore-side electricity supply facility for cruise liners started its regular operation at the passenger quay in Warnemünde in May this year. Up to two cruise lines can now receive up to 20 MVA of shore power from renewable sources simultaneously at two berths. The land-based power system is built to a modular design with standard twenty-foot containers which contain nearly all electrical components, including integrated frequency converters allowing to transform the shore electricity to accommodate all standard global shipboard power supply systems.
Fast-forward a couple of months and it is October, as we find ourselves in Copenhagen, where a new OPS facility was inaugurated at the DFDS terminal, a result of partnership between the Danish port and the shipping line. The shore power facility for DFDS is the first in Copenhagen, but it will not be the last. In 2024, cruise ships in the port in Copenhagen are expected to be able to use shore power when they dock at Ydre Nordhavn and at Langelinie in Østerbro.

Aarhus enters the game

From the 2023 season onwards, cruise ships will be able to call at the Port of Aarhus, connect to shore power and keep their engines running on electricity while the ship is docked in the port. The decision to invest in a shore power facility is a part of the Port’s wider sustainability strategy, aiming to turn it into one of the most sustainable ports in the region. According to Port of Aarhus’ CEO, Thomas Haber Borch, the move is also meant to attract more shipping companies who have converted their vessels to be able to connect to shore power facilities.

Speaking of new projects, the Ports of Stockholm have recently been granted building permits to equip Stockholm’s central quays with OPS connections for cruise ships. The building permits are for two high voltage onshore power connections in Stockholm to provide cruise ships with electricity. The onshore power connections will be inside buildings illuminated to create a more attractive environment. All construction materials must comply with the environmental gold standard, Miljöbyggnad Guld, to achieve the highest sustainability production level.

It is clear that Baltic ports are moving full steam ahead in order to make OPS facilities widely available to the calling ships. Shore power is certainly one of the solutions that can help the maritime transport sector combat greenhouse gas emissions. That said, it needs to be understood that these projects are highly cost intensive and the technology itself may not be a great fit for everyone. Ports are highly diverse and this diversity needs to be accounted for in context of various environmental regulations and policies, such as the Fit for 55 package.
A more detailed stance on the Fit for 55 package can be found in BPO’s statement, available on the Organization’s website.