The European Green Deal and ports. Focus: shore-power.

Dec 04 2020

The European Green Deal and ports. Focus: shore-power.

Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) had the opportunity to contribute to CBSS’ online webinar on shore-side power generation in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The event, held on December 3rd, 2020, was aimed at providing port authorities and other maritime sector stakeholders with practical examples of shore-power related solutions.

Bogdan Ołdakowski, Secretary General, BPO, spoke at the webinar, analyzing how ports could contribute to achieving the European Green Deal (EGD) goals. Over the past decade, the BSR saw a number of regulations linked to making maritime transport in the area greener. Most recent developments saw the directive designating the Baltic Sea as a Special Area for Sewage come into force.

The approach to making the Baltic Sea a model region for green ports and maritime transport is multi-faceted. Implementation of shore-power solutions has been gaining increasingly more traction in the past years, with a number of 20 ports providing access to high voltage installations and 10 ports either operating low voltage installations or planning to make on-shore power supply (OPS) infrastructure available to ships. These installations will help further reduce CO2 emissions and, as a consequence, contribute to protecting the climate.

While port authorities generally agree, that shore power is among the viable answers to air emissions, noise reduction and overall climate change, it’s wider implementation is facing some considerable challenges. High investments costs are the key obstacle, as they often make the decision to invest in shore-power a rather difficult business case. The cost effectiveness of on-shore power supply (OPS) technology depends on good cooperation between the ports and shipping lines, with the former usually carrying the initial investment costs linked to the development of necessary infrastructure. Other challenges involve taxation differences in various Baltic countries, coordination between many stakeholders and standardization.

BSR’s efforts to contribute to environmental goals also include the continuous development of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering network. 20 Baltic ports already offer LNG bunkering services, with the number growing every year. As with many developments in the region, this is a joint-effort, with ports eager to exchange know-how and experiences. It is certainly one of the reasons for the BSR being one of the world leaders when it comes to both LNG and OPS.
Speaking at the event, Mr Ołdakowski also briefly outlined the goals of the Policy Area on Clean Shipping (PA Ship), part of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. PA Ship supports the development of shore-side facilities to enhance clean shipping measures, including infrastructure for alternative fuels.

Bogdan Ołdakowski offered the following comment, “Baltic ports will play their role in order to contribute to the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal. We have already seen examples of Baltic ports defining targets to become climate neutral much earlier than 2050. From a practical standpoint, the port industry, under complex stakeholder involvement, will focus on mapping GHG emissions from port and related activities and defining its gradual goals in the years to come.”

The webinar also featured a broad range of other high-ranking speakers, tackling a variety of additional topics related to the EGD and electrification of maritime transport. Lea Wermelin, the Danish Minister for Environment, gave an opening speech, after which practical examples of experience with shore-side power generation were given by representatives from Stena Line and the Ports of Kristiansand and St. Petersburg. Funding support for OPS development in the EU within the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was discussed by representatives from the European Commission.

The event was organized by the Danish Maritime Authority, acting in its capacity as the former chair of the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Maritime Economy under the Danish Presidency, the CBSS Secretariat, EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Policy Area for clean shipping and the Danish Ministry of Environment.