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Port of Kiel Inaugurates Shore Power System for Cruise Ferries

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By The Maritime Executive 2019-05-09 19:55:50

On Thursday, the Port of Kiel inaugurated its new shore power supply system at the Norwegenkai passenger terminal, which will enable cold ironing for Color Line's cruise ferries. With its capacity and planned utilization level, it will deliver more power than any other shore connection in Germany. The port's Schwedenkai Terminal and the cruise shipping terminal at Ostseekai willl receive the same upgrade as the Norwegenkai in the coming year.

“In future we want to be in a position to use shore-based electricity to cover 60 percent of the power requirements of ships calling at Kiel. That will mean we will be able to count ourselves among the most eco-friendly ports in Europe," said Dr. Dirk Claus, the managing director of the Port of Kiel.

Investment in the first plant totaled $1.4 million, of which $450,000 was funded by the state of Schleswig-Holstein. The new Siemens-built system has a maximum capacity of 4.5 megawatts - the output of a midsize commercial wind turbine - at 10,000 volts. The plant connects the ship's bus to the shoreside power grid using an automatic plug-in system supplied by NG3. Once connected to shore power, the vessel’s diesel generators can be turned off and its call in Kiel becomes pollution-free.

Two ships operated by Norwegian firm Color Line, Color Fantasy and Color Magic, link Kiel with Oslo on a daily basis. They arrive at the Norwegenkai in the morning at 1000 and leave again at 1400, and their annual power requirement for the time they spend in Kiel is about four million kilowatt hours. 

“Our ships are already equipped to draw power from land-based plants and have been plugged in on-shore in Oslo since 2011 and in all four Norwegian ports since 2017," said Color Line Board Chairman Trond Kleivdal. "Kiel is now another port which has made available the necessary infrastructure to support and advance our strategy of protecting the environment."

The PLUG shore to ship transfer station is the same system that Color Line uses in Norway, and it is equipped with a PLC which communicates with the land station’s switching gear. All the necessary switching commands passed on by the ship via the system’s interface are carried out automatically. Before power is transferred from shore to ship, the system first checks for correct plug and cable connections. Once this is verified, the connection to shore is switched on and the ship synchronises itself with the shore plant.

There is only one obstacle: the electricity from shore can be more costly than electricity produced on board due to the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) levy, which is about $0.07 per kilowatt hour. This adds up to an extra $280,000 per year for the Color Line ferries' power needs, which weighs on the bottom line.

“Land power is a good way to make a clear contribution to clean air in cities which have harbours and sea ports," said the German government's coordinator for the maritime industry, Norbert Brackmann."We will therefore clear the way at government level to make land power more competitive and . . . I will campaign for this.”