Sydney to Launch First Renewable Powered Shipping District

Australia to provide shore power for shipping district in Sydney
Sydney's Prymont and Gelebe Island will become the first renewable powered shipping district (NSW Government)

Published Mar 21, 2022 7:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Officials in Sydney, Australia announced plans for what they said will create the world’s first 100 percent renewable energy shore-powered shipping precinct. Five years after deciding not to pursue shore power capabilities due to the cost, they are now planning to convert the Bays Port in the heart of Sydney to introduce shore power for both cruise ships and bulk carriers calling at the port.

The Bay Ports zone includes Glebe Island and White Bay, and according to the announcement it will be the first bulk shipping precinct fully supplied by shore power. As part of the project, they will be bringing the capability to the White Bay Cruise Terminal, which they reported will also be the first shore-powered cruise berth in the Southern Hemisphere. The announcement said that the power would be generated from renewable resources but did not specify the sources.

“The first berth is set to come online in 2024, and will allow shore power capable ships to cut their diesel generators, and thereby reducing emissions, air pollution, and noise levels whilst at the port,” said Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott. 

As part of the agreement, the Port Authority of NSW working with the government will be investing over A$60 million (approximately US$45 million) to deliver the infrastructure required to support the conversion to shore power in the region. The Port Authority of NSW CEO, Captain Philip Holliday noted that port users, including Carnival Corporation, have already pledged to retrofit and build ships to take advantage of this technology. The Port Authority said as part of a second phase it will also investigate extending shore power to the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay used by cruise ships close to the world-famous Sydney Opera House.

A 2017 feasibility study concluded that the cost of developing shore power would be prohibitive for the port and, in addition, they cited a cost of A$2 million to retrofit cruise ships to use shore power and A$1 million for the conversion of the typical bulk carrier. Under the new plan, the shore power capabilities for the port will benefit from high power cables that will be strung in the area to support an expansion of the metro system in Sydney.

Carnival Corporation highlighted that all of the cruise ships it is basing in Sydney already have shore power capabilities, while the port authority estimated that a third of the worldwide cruise ship fleet currently has the ability to use shore power. They expect the bulk shipping industry to adopt the capability to meet new environmental standards. Minister Elliot said that in the Bays Port area alone, renewable shore power will remove up to 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere over 12 months.