Port of Leith Becomes First Scottish Mainland Port with Shore Power

Leith Scotland shore power
Leith, Scotland became the first mainland port in the country to provide shore power (Forth Ports)

Published Jan 6, 2023 7:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Leith has become the first large mainland commercial port in Scotland to provide a shore power connection for ships. Operated by the Forth Port Group, the plan is to expand the shore power capabilities in the port which is also the largest enclosed deep-water port in Scotland. It is an import port for the offshore sector and also a frequent destination for cruise ships.

The first installation for the shore power is being used to provide electricity to Tallink’s 40,975 gross ton ferry Victoria I. The 635-foot vessel has been in the port since July 2022 when it was chartered by Scotland to provide temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees. The chart was originally for up to nine months to house between 700 and 1,000 refugees.

Commenting on the addition of shore power to the port, Minister with special responsibility for refugees from Ukraine, Neil Gray, said “Scotland has legislated for some of the world’s most ambitious climate change targets and we will be a net zero nation by 2045. This is a great example of a business taking action that will benefit us all. We’re grateful for the work undertaken by Forth Ports to make this happen. The Victoria is providing safe accommodation for displaced people from Ukraine and it’s an added bonus that it is now powered by mains electricity.”

The Victoria I is the first vessel to receive the shore power connection within the Imperial Dock in the Port of Leith. Port officials highlighted that after months on dock using its fossil fuel powered generators, the ferry was able to switch off all of its generators using Forth Ports’ electricity. Further, because the port draws power from non-fossil fuel generation, this is a significant step forward on the journey to net zero for the port.

The electrical network in the port has been extended and integrated to the vessel’s systems through a PSW Power & Automation shore power transformer. This setup is being further developed in the port’s Harbour Berth where it will be offered to offshore construction vessels which use Leith as their home port. This further expansion will be online later this month.

“As a business, we are committed to reducing the emissions from our operations and we are encouraging shipping to do the same,” said David Webster, Director of Energy at Forth Ports. “This major civil engineering project to introduce shore power in Leith is a significant milestone for our business in Scotland and we are pleased that the Victoria 1 is now powered by mains electricity. We look forward to offering shore power to our other vessels visiting the port in 2023.”

According to port officials, the Port of Leith is currently undergoing a major transformation to create Scotland’s largest renewable hub. It includes the development of a new deep-water outer berth which will also be shore power enabled.