Cruise lines score environmental awards

Cruise lines get a lot of criticism for fouling up the air with tons of bad stuff emitted from their diesel burning engines. Environmental groups say “rightfully so” as dirty engines can emit a ton of gunk into the atmosphere each time they dock. But there was good news for Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruise lines who all three won awards from the Port of Seattle for making an environmental difference recently.

In the 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.

Earlier this 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 shore-side power source, representing an investment for Princess of nearly $7 million in equipment.

It’s a topic that comes up often these days as cruise ports green up and look to the future.

Last month, he Port of Los Angeles completed it’s World Cruise Center solar rooftop project. Estimated to produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, the $10.8 million project will also result in an estimated $200,000 in energy cost savings.

It looks like they’re sailing in the right direction environmentally.

Flickr photo by Leandoe

New York cruise port wants green power… two years ago

It’s been two years since Carnival Corp, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Brooklyn cruise terminal port authority agreed to enable cruise ships to plug in to green shore-side power. West coast ports are doing it already with San Diego going online just last month.

All parties agree that it’s a good idea and are ready to move forward. But an agreement on maintenance and operating costs just can’t be reached.

Environmentally angry diesel fuel burned by cruise ships idling while docked can spew a ton of pollutants into the air, about the same amount as 1000 idling cars.

Nearby neighbors of the port are angry, tired of it all and want action.

“The emissions are invisible but get in people’s lungs and cause all sorts of damage,” said activist Anthony Armstrong, who lives with his wife and two children just two blocks from the cruise terminal. “It’s a huge concern around here.” reports the New York Post.

Carnival Cruise Line is ready to go and knows what they need to do. Sister-lines Princess Cruises and Holland America Line already have ships outfitted with the new green power technology and are plugging in on the West coast. They know how to do it.

The EPA and port authority have set aside $15 million to make it happen. All that remains is an agreement on who will pay ongoing costs of maintaining and operating the system.

“We need a comprehensive shore power agreement now,” Councilman Brad Lander told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We’ve had two years of idling ships and idling negotiations. We have a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference in the health of our communities, and the sustainability of our port.”

Here we have the cruise industry, sometimes criticized for its polluting ways, stepping up to do the right thing. The cruise port wants green power. Neighbors are all over it and no one can figure out how to make that happen.

Wouldn’t it kind of make sense that whoever uses the power from the new system would pay for it?

I’m just sayin’

Flickr photo by postopp1