California looks to expand rules requiring ships to use shore power

THE California Air Resources Board (CARB) has come up with proposals to expand the type and number of ships that must use shore power or an alternate method to reduce air pollution while at berth

12 January 2020 - 19:00
THE California Air Resources Board (CARB) has come up with proposals to expand the type and number of ships that must use shore power or an alternate method to reduce air pollution while at berth.

The board recently held a hearing on the Proposed Control Measure for Ocean-Going Vessels at Berth and is considering written comments before holding a second hearing, tentatively planned for the spring.

Current rules require most container ships, conventional refrigerated ships and cruise ships to use shore power when docked in ports rather than run their auxiliary engines to create electricity for purposes such as lighting, air conditioning or operation of shipboard equipment, reports American Shipper.

This is sometimes called alternative marine power (AMP), shore-to-ship power or 'cold ironing'. Alternatively, instead of 'plugging into' the shoreside grid, ships can continue to use their auxiliary engines and use a system to 'capture and control' engine exhaust.

The existing regulations are in place at six ports: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and.

The proposed regulation will make smaller container, reefer and cruise ships (about 10 per cent of these types of ships calling California today) subject to the shore power regulation. Those requirements would phase in from the beginning of 2023. It's also proposed that roll-on, roll-off ships (ro-ros) be included for the first time, starting in 2025.

Tankers are also proposed to be phased in at the beginning of 2027 at Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals, and elsewhere in 2029. In addition to the ships' auxiliary engines, the regulations would require large tanker vessels that carry crude oil to reduce emissions from boilers used to drive steam-driven pumps so that cargo can be offloaded.

The proposals will cover ports and terminals, including refinery docks, in Northern California in cities such as Stockton, Richmond, Rodeo, Benicia and Martinez.

The chair of CARB, Mary Nichols said: 'Further emissions reductions from oceangoing vessels at berth are needed to provide public health benefits to the port communities that are already heavily burdened by air pollution from port-related freight sources, as well as to contribute to our ozone and greenhouse gas reduction goals.'

Director of clean air advocacy at the American Lung Association Will Barrett said twenty health organisations are supporting the CARB proposal 'because we view pollution from the ships to be such an unacceptable health risk in our local communities.'

As an alternative to plugging into the shore-based electrical grid, ships can reduce pollution by using a CARB-approved capture-and-control system that removes pollutants such as particulate matter, and oxides of sulfur and nitrogen. Three of these are in use currently: two mounted on barges used in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and one wheeled unit used at Pasha's terminal in Los Angeles.

CARB estimates the regulation would have a total net cost of US$2.16 billion between 2021 and 2032, and that it would result in avoided adverse health outcomes costs of $2.25 billion.

It estimated the unit cost of the regulation would amount to $1.11 per TEU for container or reefer vessels, $4.56 per cruise passenger, $7.49 per automobile moved on a ro-ro ship, and less than a penny on a gallon of finished product for products moved by tanker.

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