Barrier to take-up of shoreside power

Prohibitively expensive shoreside power projects are restricting the widespread take-up of plug-in solutions at global ports.

The United Kingdom Major Ports Group chief executive Tim Morris has revealed to Port Strategy that a quote for onshore power for one of its members put the payback period at over 100 years.

Added to this, the ‘use or lose it’ approach of distribution network operators means that even if a port has paid for costly energy network upgrades, unless that capacity is used on a relatively frequent basis the port will lose its access.

“Clearly that’s a significant concern, given the low level of demand currently and its intermittency/spikiness over the short and mid-terms,” said Mr Morris, discussing the issue for a feature in November’s Port Strategy magazine.

With ports striving to be greener through the increasing provision of onshore power supply for vessels alongside and through switching equipment from diesel to electric, the supply/demand balance has become critical.

“Port equipment will become more electrified. And more data-driven business models may well see increased demand for power. That is even before you incorporate ship-to-shore power connectivity,” said Mr Morris. “This will add substantial ‘peaking’ demand on top of the higher ‘baseload’ demand from the port itself.”

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