Shore power, an electric system – known as cold ironing - is the process of switching from a ship's onboard diesel power supply to shore-based electrical power, while at dock. This process greatly reduces polluting air emissions, from the ships since electricity from the grid is much cleaner than generating energy from diesel engines.
The Port of San Diego officially celebrated the installation of the $7.1 million system during a media event on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010. Port executives, including Commissioner Michael B. Bixler, County Supervisor Greg Cox, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District and San Diego and Electric (SDG&E) helped dedicate the system during a ceremony at the port's B Street Cruise Ship Terminal.
"This is an important moment in the port's history. This installation puts the Port of San Diego into a very exclusive club," said Bixler. "Clearly, we're on the cutting edge of this technology and this dedication underscores the port's commitment, and the commitment of our board, to address environmental issues."
County Supervisor Cox said the shore power installation is a joint effort.
"This project was made possible by the assistance of the County's Air Pollution Control District," Cox said. "The district provided $2.4 million in state grants from the Carl Moyer Program. The benefit to the county's air quality and public health is substantial."
This is the first shore power system the Carl Moyer grant has funded. The purpose of the grant is to reduce air pollution emissions by providing grants for the incremental cost of cleaner vehicles and equipment.
Holland America Line's cruise ship ms Oosterdam was the first of the cruise lines to power up using the shore power system.
"We can provide up to 12 megawatts of power," said Michelle White, manager of the Port of San Diego's Green Port Program. "That's enough to power a large college campus."
The system was installed by Cochran Marine, which has perfected the shore power standard for cruise ships. The company has installed shore power for the ports in Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Shore power technology is just one of the initiatives the Port of San Diego has implemented to minimize its impact on the environment through its Green Port Program.
"Ships are our largest single source of air emissions and this project is going to significantly reduce those (harmful) emissions," White said. "It's going to be a huge benefit to the community."
Initially, one cruise ship can be powered from shore at a time. Eventually, the system will be able to power two cruise ships simultaneously, either at B Street or at the auxiliary terminal, the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier.