Two projects that will improve the air quality around the tidelands were approved by the Board of Port Commissioners at today’s Board meeting.
The projects involve the installation of equipment at the Port’s Cruise Ship Terminal and Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal that would allow cruise and cargo vessels to plug into shore power while docked. This would eliminate the need for ships to idle their diesel engines, reducing the amount of pollutants emitted in the air.
Port Commission Chairman Stephen P. Cushman set a goal of keeping a list of projects that improve the environment for the benefit of the San Diego region when his tenure as chairman began in January. Cold-ironing now joins that list.
"This is another improvement in the port's environmental record," Cushman said.
The project also received praise from the Environmental Health Coalition.
“The Environmental Health Coalition supports the shore power projects,” said Diane Takvorian, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Coalition. “If you move forward with this, you’d reduce 300 tons of nitrogen oxides per year.”
Nitrogen oxides are harmful emissions from cars, trucks, ships and power plants.
In October 2008, the Port was awarded $ 2.4 million in Carl Moyer grant funds from the San Diego Air Pollution Control District for the cruise ship terminal shore power project. To comply with the Carl Moyer Grant Program regulations, the system must be operating by May 31, 2010. An average of 52 ship calls per year must use the system for three years, prior to the 2014 California regulatory deadline.
The estimated cost for providing shore power to the cruise ship terminal is $7 million. This includes about $2 million for the 12 megawatt SDG&E service, $3 million for the equipment and $2 million for the infrastructure design and construction. Operation and maintenance costs for the system will be about $250,000 annually. The equipment would be located on Broadway Pier where the Port’s new cruise ship terminal will be built and at the north and south berths of the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal.
The Port had $1 million budgeted in its fiscal year 2009-2013 Capital Development Plan for the project.
The estimated cost to provide shore power at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is $6 million. The Port had budgeted $500,000 in its Capital Development Plan for the project and hoped to obtain grant funding for the remainder.
The Board approved using $7.6 million from the Capital Development Program’s contingency fund to get the two shore power projects moving. California State Regulation requires that shore power be provided for at least 50 percent of cruise ship and refrigerated container ship calls by January 1, 2014. The percentage escalates through 2020 when it will be required that 80 percent of cruise ship and refrigerated container ships connect to shore power. Dole Fresh Fruit Company is the only carrier at the Port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal that would be affected by the regulations.
Commissioner Scott Peters, chairman of the port's Environmental Advisory Committee said the vote in favor of cold-ironing is a victory for the community.
"This is a significant financial commitment by the port to demonstrate that it is a good neighbor by improving air quality," Peters said. "It shows real leadership."
Now that funding is available, the Port can go forward with the design and construction. It is estimated that the cruise ship terminal shore power will be completed by December 2010 and that the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal shore power system will be operational in August 2011.