Public Push for Shore Power as Seattle Makes Way for Bigger Vessels

Monday November 9, 2015

Local Seattle, US, residents say extended shore power infrastructure should be "top of the list" of priorities for the Port of Seattle Terminal 5 (T5) modernisation project, local media reports.

"Without [shore power], the neighbors fear, the new 'big ships' will be running their engines for days at a time, polluting the air," wrote West Seattle Blog.

Seattle's Southwest District Council (SWDC) says the modernisation project has been prompted by the need to accommodate today's "much larger vessels," noting that T5's existing cranes "cannot handle the larger container vessels."

The project's environmental review process includes a “scoping meeting” that will take place this Thursday, November 12, 2015, and public comments are being sought until November 23.

As part of the review process, an "online open house" has also been set up by the Northwest Seaport Alliance to inform stakeholders about the project's details.

"The conceptual design includes crane rail strengthening, structural repair to the existing wharf, fender system replacement, berth deepening, slope stabilisation, and electrical supply/distribution," according to the Port of Seattle website.

In May, Peter McGraw, spokesman for the Port of Seattle, said "nothing compares to the benefits of zero emissions by connecting the vessel to shore power and shutting down the vessel's engines while the ship is at the dock."

However not all US ports are in agreement over the benefits of the technology.

In May, the president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, James Newsome, said shore power systems were a "last-generation solution at most major ports."