B.C. Underwrites Shore Power Project for Victoria Cruise Terminal

Cruise terminal at Victoria, BC
File image courtesy Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

Published Apr 11, 2023 12:17 AM by The Maritime Executive

A busy 2023 cruise tourism season has prompted the British Columbia government to invest $6.6 million in power supply infrastructure to enable cruise ships' access electrical power while docked at the Victoria cruise terminal.

Onshore power supply infrastructure will be installed at Victoria's Ogden Point, which is currently the busiest cruise ship port-of-call in Canada. The shore power will enable the high number of cruise ships expected to dock at the terminal in the 2023 season to plug into the local electricity grid while at berth. The plug-in facilities will be installed at two berths, allowing multiple ships to draw electricity at the port, significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and noise pollution in the region.

This year, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) estimates 320 cruise ships and approximately 850,000 passengers will dock at the Victoria terminal over the seven-month season between April and October. The first cruise ship of the 2023 season is scheduled to dock in Victoria on April 11.

In Canada, the cruise ship industry represents about $3 billion worth of annual input into the country’s economy and generates approximately 30,000 jobs. The B.C government believes that ensuring sustainability by reducing emissions from this commercially-important activity is critical.

“People want solutions to environmental concerns while also growing our economy. Adding shore power will allow us to turn off large cruise ship engines by connecting vessels to clean electricity at Ogden Point. This will lower GHG emissions, reduce air pollution and create well-paying jobs that support sustainable tourism,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The funding will enable GVHA, which owns and operates deep water, marina and upland holdings throughout Victoria's harbor including the port at The Breakwater District, to plan and implement the shore power project at Ogden Point thus enhancing its status as a world-class destination for cruise ships and passengers.

85 percent of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)-member cruise ships that are set for delivery over the next four years have the capabilities to plug into shoreside electricity, thus allowing engines to switch off at berth for significant emissions reduction. CLIA has identified shore power as one of the pathways that will enable the cruise industry to achieve net-zero ambitions by 2050.

Victoria will join other Pacific Coast cruise ship ports like Seattle, Vancouver and Juneau, which were among the world’s first major ports of call to offer shore power plug-in options.