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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

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October 2010 Newsletter

A Green Port in San Francisco

In The News

San Francisco Chronicle
Cruise ships gain access to S.F. power grid

Contra Costa Times/San Jose Mercury News/ Tri Valley Herald:
Onshore energy for ships to reduce port pollution

ABC7 News
New technology lets cruise ships plug into port

On October 6, the Port of San Francisco became the first in California to connect a cruise ship to on-shore electricity to reduce air pollution. Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator, joined San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and others at a ceremony at Pier 27 where the Island Princess became the first cruise ship to plug in to shoreside power. Officials from the Port of San Francisco, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Princess Cruises were also on hand for the event.

This shoreside power system improves air quality by providing clean energy to cruise ships docked in San Francisco.

Diesel-burning generators that power cruise ships at berth can spew 140 pounds of particulates and more than a ton of smog-forming nitrogen oxides in a single, 10-hour visit. The $5.2 million on-shore electricity project is expected to remove more than a ton of deadly particulates from the air each year. Particulates can cause serious health impacts including bronchitis, asthma and other lung ailments.

Plugging in to the local grid will allow docked passenger ships to switch from running on diesel, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, to clean renewable energy from the City’s Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric dam in Yosemite National Park.

The new dockside power system is only the fourth in the world, with others in Juneau, Alaska, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Although the new technology requires an initial investment of about $1 million per ship, cruise ship owners expect to see significant savings of about $16,000 a day per ship in reduced energy costs.

In San Francisco, much of the $5.2 million budget - a combination of local, state and federal dollars - went toward the giant cables, spool and 27-foot-tall metal arm that physically connect a ship's power supply to the city's infrastructure. Funding was also provided for upgrades to the electrical grid in order to accommodate the additional 6- to 12-megawatt demand from each passenger ship. Usage for the entire city of San Francisco, for comparison, usually falls between 900 and 1,000 megawatts.

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