5.12.2022 09:10:00 //
Vaula Aunola
Veikko Somerpuro ja Timo Porthan

Shore power generates the greatest reduction in port emissions

The Port of Helsinki has been investing in shore power for several years. When the latest connection to the West Harbour is completed, all liners that anchor for a longer period will use shore power at city-centre harbours.

The introduction of shore power is an integral aspect of the Port of Helsinki’s ambitious climate targets. The port has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral in terms of its own operations by 2025.

“These climate targets are the strongest drivers of change,” says Andreas Slotte, Head of Sustainable Development.

In the port’s carbon neutrality programme, targets have been set not only for the port’s own operations, but also for activities in the port area as a whole. 

“The emissions produced by berthed vessels are the largest of these, and so investing in shore power is naturally the most effective of the Port’s carbon neutrality measures,” says Slotte. 

Greatest impact in scheduled traffic

Liners usually visit the port on an almost daily basis, and often spend long periods of time there. The port therefore began by investing in shore power for scheduled traffic.

“The greatest reductions in emissions are achieved when these vessels connect to shore power and turn off their own auxiliary engines and electricity generators.” 

Andreas Slotte
“In the future, we also want to offer shore power to international cruise ships visiting Helsinki,” says Andreas Slotte, Head of Sustainable Development at the Port of Helsinki. Photo: Timo Porthan

When the latest connection to the West Harbour is completed, all liners that anchor for a longer period will use shore power at city-centre harbours.

“Shore power reduces the emissions of berthed vessels by 50–80 per cent. This figure is probably closer to 80 per cent, but we’re making a conservative estimate, as vessels are not heated with shore power during colder weather.”

Passenger ships used to use their own generators to produce the electricity they required.  A single liner could generate more than a thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year while berthed.

All vessels to use shore power

Slotte says that cruise ships and cargo vessels are next in line.

“We want to offer shore power to international cruise ships visiting Helsinki.”

Meanwhile, Vuosaari Harbour is preparing for cargo vessels to switch to shore power.

“We’ve already decided to build a shore power connection for Finnlines ships sailing on the Travemünde–Helsinki route, and it will be completed next year.”

Shipping companies also investing in shore power 

Shore power is a significant investment for the Port of Helsinki.

“It costs over a million to build one set of equipment on the quay. And the costs will increase if we have to strengthen the trunk line.” 

Slotte stresses that the port’s investments alone are not enough. Shipping companies will also incur costs from switching to shore power.

“Tallink Silja’s MyStar was equipped for shore power while still at the shipyard. Yet the connections for its Megastar, which was built a few years earlier, were only added after construction, as was the case with many vessels used in other shipping companies’ scheduled traffic.”

Mobile solutions are the future

Fully comprehensive technical standards for shore power do not yet exist.

“For example, there’s no specified location for sockets. Some vessels have sockets in the bow, others in the stern. This poses challenges for quay equipment.”

Fixed connection points for liners have now been built at the Port of Helsinki. 

“In the future, we’ll also be investing in mobile solutions. This will enable us to get most of the container and international cruise traffic connected to shore power as well.” 

EU 55 sets targets

The EU’s climate package contains strict targets for the use of shore power. By 2030, all container ships, ropax vessels and passenger ships visiting EU ports must be 90 per cent connected to shore power.

“By international standards, our ports in Finland and our sister ports in other Nordic countries are at the forefront of these developments.”

Slotte points out that the introduction of shore power is only one of these ports’ sustainable development goals.

“We’re also doing a lot more to promote sustainable development.”