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Energy Efficiency

Potential for shore-side electricity

AcidNews June 2015

Connecting ships at berth to onshore power will provide health and environmental benefits by reducing air pollution, greenhouse gases and noise.

A recent study by Ecofys on behalf of the European Commission’s DG CLIMA has investigated the potential for shore-side electricity (SSE) in Europe, including the barriers to implementation, and provides recommendations on policy action that the Commission could take to accelerate the implementation of SSE in European harbours.

When at berth, ships typically burn fuel oil in their auxiliary engines to generate electrical power for communications, lighting, ventilation and other onboard equipment. Ships may also burn fuel oil in boilers, for instance to  supply hot water and heating and to prevent the heavy fuel oil from solidifying.

This combustion of fuel oil results in emissions of air pollutants, including the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the port areas, which are often located in or near cities. SSE is an option for reducing unwanted environmental impacts of ships at berth.

According to the study’s mapping of the health benefits of SSE, ports in the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean islands would gain large benefits from NOx reductions.

Concerning SO2, the biggest benefits of SSE are to be found in the Mediterranean area, Ireland and the western part of the UK.

Current SSE projects show that there can be a business case for all parties, says the study. The initial investment for ship owners and in ports is substantial, but can be recouped from lower operating costs.

Furthermore, huge benefits have been documented in terms of reductions in noise and air pollutant emissions.

The study estimates that if all seagoing and inland ships in European harbours in 2020 were to use SSE to cover their energy demand at berth, they would consume 3,543 GWh annually, equivalent to 0.1 per cent of the electricity consumption of Europe as a whole in 2012. In general, the increase in demand is not seen as problematic for the electricity grid, especially considering that expanding the use of SSE is a medium to long-term process.

The study: Potential for Shore Side Electricity in Europe (January 2015). By Ecofys, the Netherlands.

Downloadable from:

Efficiency standards for ships too easy to meet

AcidNews June 2015

CE Delft has released a study, commissioned by Brussels-based NGOs Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment, which calculated the Estimated Index Values (EIVs) of new ships built between 2009 and 2014, and concluded that the majority of container and general cargo ships built in recent years already meet the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) standards set for 2020.

Of the ships in the study that were built in 2014, some 34 per cent of container ships and 43 per cent of general cargo ships also met the EEDI target for 2030.

The study confirms that the EEDI targets need substantial revision since the current standards fall short on reflecting best practice or the pace with which improvements in efficiency can be brought about.

The study identified a large variation in the EIV of ships of similar type and size, indicating that large additional fuel savings and associated reductions in CO2 emissions would be possible if all ships were built to the best available designs and technologies.

The EIV improvements have coincided with increases in average design speed and decreases in main engine power for a number of ship categories, which suggests an improvement in hull or propulsion efficiency. The findings also suggest that, if design speeds were kept constant, larger improvements in design efficiency would have been possible.

More information at:

New ships less fuel efficient than those built in 1990

AcidNews June 2015

Ships are significantly less energy-efficient today than in 1990, calling for greater steps in regulation and binding energy efficiency standards for the shipping sector.

New ships built in 2013 were on average 10 per cent less fuel-efficient than those built in 1990, according to a new study, “Historical trends in ship design efficiency”, by CE Delft. On average, those earlier ships already beat the so-called “Energy Efficiency Design Index” standard that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set for new ships built in 2020.

This first-ever study of the historical trend in the design efficiency of new ships, commissioned by Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment, finds that bulk carriers, tankers, and container ships built in 2013 were on average 12, 8 and 8 per cent less fuel efficient respectively than those built in 1990.

The findings are particularly valuable as they starkly contradict claims that shipping has been constantly improving its environmental performance. They also demonstrate that market forces cannot by themselves lead to more fuel-efficient ships being built and that more regulation is necessary as well as a much stricter Energy Efficiency Design Index standard. It is interesting that at a time when ships were most energy efficient the price of oil was proportionally much cheaper than today (around $25 vs $100 per barrel, in today’s prices).

John Maggs, policy advisor at Seas At Risk and president of the Clean Shipping Coalition, said: “Now we know that we cannot rely on rising fuel prices, other market forces or the good intentions of industry to solve shipping’s climate problem. Instead we need a clear and ambitious target for reducing ship greenhouse gas emissions and legally binding measures to get us there.”

The IMO will review the stringency levels of its Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) – the efficiency standards for new ships – during a meeting of its Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) in London in May 2015.

Information sources:

CE Delft study:

Press release from Transport and Environment:

Hong Kong pulls plug on on-shore power supply for cruise ships

Ernest Kao

Officials say plan to power cruise ships from land too costly as disappointed green groups insist system would have reduced emissions

Plans for plug-in power at the Kai Tak terminal have been temporarily shelved as it would be a costly system few cruise liners around the world could or would use, environmental authorities say.

The announcement drew disappointment from the city’s green groups who believe building on-shore power recharging facilities can help reduce emissions and ultimately save lives.

But while plugging into electric power on land, rather than recharging from the vessel’s running engines, could “eliminate” ship emissions at berth, the Environmental Protection Department said such facilities would cause the two-berth terminal to be “significantly underutilised”.

Out of the 60 cruise terminals in the Asia Pacific, only five ports were considering on-shore power supply (OPS) in the coming five to 10 years, the department said, in a paper that is to be discussed at the Legislative Council environmental affairs panel next week.

The findings were based on a study by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department in 2013 on the feasibility of installing on-shore power at Kai Tak.

Installing such a system would take 60 months to prepare, HK$315 million to build and cost up to HK$14 million per year in operating costs, the paper said.

The department also found that only 35 international cruise ships would be equipped with on-shore power systems by the end of this year – about 16 per cent of all international cruise ships. Most of those vessels also plied North American rather than Asian routes, where there was at least seven terminals equipped with plug-in facilities.

“The high cost outlay coupled with low interest of cruise liners in equipping their vessels with OPS, are not conducive to the installation of OPS systems,” the department said.

“The survey findings suggest that setting up OPS is not a priority task among cruise ports in the Asia Pacific region and this will likely remain so in the foreseeable future.”

The report said most cruise ships believe it would be more cost-effective to switch to cleaner fuel at berth. A mandate requiring ocean-going vessels to switch to lower sulphur fuels at berth will come into effect in July.

But Clean Air Network disagreed with the findings saying Hong Kong should have “seized the opportunity” to be a front runner in Asia for OPS.

“The government tends to calculate cost benefits without considering external social costs,” said Clean Air Network chief executive Kwong Sum-yin. “The building of on-shore power facilities is certainly worthwhile in order to protect public health.”

Citing the Hedley Environmental Index, the group calculated that 42 deaths and HK$523 million could be saved a year from harmful cruise ship air pollution.

Friends of the Earth said the decision reflected a “planning mistake” since both location and design had been factored very early on.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had committed the government to develop OPS at Kai Tak in his 2013 policy address.

“The government spends millions in public funds on a consultancy report, but now they say the plan as not feasible in terms of cost-effectiveness,” the group said.

It urged the government to look into developing on-shore power at the Kwai Chung container port instead, which was an even bigger hotbed of shipping emissions.

Source URL (modified on May 28th 2015, 5:55am):