It matters because shore power, also known as cold ironing, not only reduces fuel costs, but also reduces harmful emissions and noise. Shore power enables ships to turn off their diesel engines and connect to local electric power that travels to the ship from a specially designed transformer at the dock.
Shore-based, clean BC Hydro electricity then runs all onboard services during the day-long calls.
A fair and competitive electricity rate is set to provide shore power at a predictable unit electricity cost, which is vital to adoption of the technology.
To put the reduction in emissions into perspective, since its inception in 2009, the shore power project has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 14,000 tonnes, equivalent to taking 3,000 vehicles off Vancouvers roads for one year.
Its obvious to anybody casting their gaze towards Vancouver harbour and Canada Place at this time of year that cruise ship season is in full effect. With more than 230 cruise ship calls annually, it just makes good environmental and business sense to use shore power.
The Shore Power Project has proven so successful that Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is working to expand it beyond the cruise ship industry to commercial vessels. The installation of shore power facilities for container vessels at Deltaport and Centerm is targeted for completion in early 2017, and it will allow container vessels with shore power capability to connect and reduce their per-visit greenhouse emission impact by an estimated 75 tonnes per ship.
In April, BC Hydro announced that 98.3 per cent of the power generated last year was from clean or renewable resources. Thats the highest percentage in the last 10 years.
Using technology and innovation is key to continuing this trend in a changing energy landscape.
Jessica McDonald is president and CEO of BC Hydro