Port of Los Angeles plugs in cruise ships to help environment

Port of Los Angeles plugs in cruise ships

Ports and cruise lines are making an ongoing effort to grow the industry in an environmentally responsible matter. The Port of Los Angeles today became the first with the ability to provide shoreside power to three different cruise lines. Using the Alternative Maritime Power system, ships from Princess Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line can now turn off their polluting engines while in port.

“The use of AMP™ at our World Cruise Center reduces emissions not just at the Port but improves the quality of air throughout the Los Angeles region,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The ability to adapt this technology to multiple cruise lines eliminates significant ship exhaust when cruise ships are at berth, and the AMP Mobile is another innovation that demonstrates our commitment to developing cutting-edge technology that can benefit port communities everywhere.”

Having the ability to provide clean power and being able to use it are two different matters. In addition to the port having it available, ships must be fitted to accept the clean power source.The Port’s AMP™ system installed at the World Cruise Center in Los Angeles plugs in two cruise ships at a time and is capable of delivering up to 40 megawatts of power, with 20 megawatts of power delivery capacity to each of the two different ships.

Cruise lines and ports have been working on the ability to provide clean, electric energy from the local power grid for years. Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International won awards from the Port of Seattle for making an environmental difference recently.

In January’s first annual Green Gateway Partners Awards the lines were recognized for participating in the At-Berth Clean Fuels program, or use of shore power to plug in and turn off engines while docked at shore.

“Each of the companies recognized have demonstrated that you don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy,” said Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani at the time.

In Los Angeles, the World Cruise Center is the only port where two cruise ships can be connected simultaneously. Cruise ships utilize either 6.6 kilovolts (kV) or 11 kV electrical power distribution systems to plug into shore side power; the Port of Los Angeles can now accommodate either. Currently the power demand of the cruise ships calling the Port of Los Angeles is anywhere between 8 to 13 megawatts of power. A seven megawatt load is equivalent to producing enough electricity for approximately 1,000 homes.

Also in California, the Port of San Diego gained the “plug-in” ability late last year, fitted for Holland America ships. Holland America Line’s Oosterdam was the first to plug in to “Shore Power”, a system designed to help cruise ships go green. Initially the system can handle one ship but plans are for this system to take on more in the future too.

Port of San Diego Completes Shore Power System from Port of San Diego on Vimeo.

Also last year Princess Cruises Island Princess plugged in at the Port of San Francisco to a system that was built as a cooperative effort by the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Environmental Protection Agency, Holland America Line and Princess.

Princess’ shore power program made history debuting in environmentally extra-sensitive Juneau, Alaska in 2001, expanded to Seattle in 2005, and then to Vancouver in 2009. Currently nine of the line’s ships have the capability to “plug in” to a shoreside power source, representing an investment for Princess of nearly $7 million in equipment.