The dozen state-owned major ports in the country have switched to renewable energy to meet their entire power requirements, making India the first nation to have all government-owned ports running on solar and wind energy.
Under a ‘green port’ initiative, the Shipping Ministry had directed all the major ports to install grid-connected and roof-top solar and wind power projects to facilitate day-to-day operations including supplying shore-power to visiting ships in an eco-friendly manner.
The 12 state-owned ports are Deendayal Port Trust, Mumbai Port Trust, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, New Mangalore Port Trust, Mormugao Port Trust, Cochin Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, VO Chidambaranar Port Trust, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradip Port Trust, Kolkata Port Trust and Kamarajar Port Ltd.
Shore-power, also known as cold ironing or alternative maritime power, enables ships at dock or in dry dock to use shore-side electricity to power on-board electrical systems, such as lighting, ventilation, communication, cargo pumps and other critical equipment, while turning off their auxiliary engines.
The electricity comes from the local power grid through a substation at the port and is plugged into special power connectors in the shore-power system on the ship.
Shore-power is considered an important way to cut emissions and save costs for shipping companies. It is also a quicker and cheaper short-term solution for allowing shipping companies to meet emissions targets – particularly those related to emission control areas.
Emissions from ships at berth is estimated to be approximately 10 times greater than those from the ports’ own operations. “So, there is a greater potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships in ports than from port activities on the land-side,” a Ministry official said.
Ships when berthed at port, though not propelling, still consume a large amount of energy to meet various functions during their port stay. This could be for running the ships’ auxiliary power for ventilation of accommodation, loading and unloading of cargo, provisions and spares, cooking, etc. Running these on fuel-powered generators results in noise, vibrations and emissions in the ports.
The supply of shore-side electricity to ships (all types of vessels) at ports can reduce emissions, noise and vibrations, and is therefore considered environment friendly.
The government has enabled the major ports to develop the necessary infrastructure to supply shore electric power to all types of ships during the period of their port stay.
Using renewable energy also helps ports cut power bills – a key operating cost – which in turn translates into lower vessel- and cargo-related charges.
India’s maritime administration has framed standard operating procedures (SOP) for shore electric power supply to ships in Indian ports that presently cover only a low power supply – up to 150 kW at low voltage.
“Once a port is ready with high voltage supply to meet any power demand of a ship, a new SOP will be issued,” a Ministry official said.