Oakland approves innovative ship-to-shore power pilot project
The policy-setting board for the Port of Oakland approved a $275,000 pilot project to test a new ship-to-shore electrification plan that promises to cut exhaust emissions from docked cargo vessels.
While other ports have built or proposed the ship-to-shore systems, most current designs allow the vessels to plug into the commercial power grid. The Oakland system approved Tuesday will test using dockside liquefied natural gas-powered generators. The generators will provide necessary shipboard power while the vessels are at berth, allowing them to turn off their diesel-powered auxiliary engines. These engines are a main contributor to port-area emissions such as particulate matter'seen as exhaust soot'and oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, both smog-forming components.
The system offers an alternative to current ship-to-shore power models by eliminating the need to tap into the commercial power grid. A 2004 feasibility study on ship-to-shore power in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles found that, like most ports, the local power transmission and delivery systems were wholly inadequate to provide large amounts of power grid electricity. Oakland, the fourth-busiest container port in the nation, found that upgrading their electrical system for grid-based ship electrification would cost upwards of $90 million.
Oakland's generator-based pilot project is being conducted with ocean carrier APL, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and Pacific Gas & Electric Co.