San Francisco became one of a handful of locations in the world to adopt a shoreside power system Wednesday, when Mayor Gavin Newsom joined port officials and state and federal partners to officially inaugurate the system.
At Pier 27, the Princess Cruises ship “Island Princess” shut down its diesel engines and received clean power from the city’s electrical grid, making the Port of San Francisco the first California port to implement such a system.
While a ship is connected in port, shoreside power results in zero air emissions. As ships load or unload their passengers or cargo, they will receive continuous electrical power routed to refrigeration, cooling, heating, lighting, emergency, and other electrical equipment.
“Once again, we are demonstrating that doing right by the environment doesn’t come at the expense of jobs and economic growth,” Newsom said in a statement.
Shoreside power will enable the port to accommodate a growing number of cruise ships and their associated tourism dollars while protecting the Bay and local air quality, Newsom said.
Currently, ports in Seattle, Vancouver, and Juneau, Alaska operate clean power systems, according to the mayor’s office. The ports of Los Angeles and San Diego have plans to implement similar systems.
Princess Cruises developed the shore power technology in Juneau nine years ago, and expanded the system to Seattle in 2005. Vancouver implemented its system last year, according to the mayor’s office.
Nine Princess Cruises ships are currently outfitted to plug into a shoreside power source.
“We know that local air quality is an important issue in the Bay Area, so we’re pleased to join with the port to debut this important environmental initiative,” Princess Cruises executive vice president Dean Brown said.
Plans for the system began five years ago, when a San Francisco port committee recommended that future cruise terminal development incorporate shoreside power.
Port officials said they explored a number of funding options, including resources available through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Environmental Protection Agency and San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission.
The EPA helped fund the electrification by awarding the port $1 million to build the infrastructure at Pier 27.