COP26: UK MPs prefer co-financed shore power model in ports

A survey of over 100 UK members of parliament (MPs) for the British Ports Association has revealed a tentative consensus for a joint model of funding for shore power in ports.

Illustration. Image by Navingo

55% of those with a view said that the government has a role in supporting shore power, either funding it entirely or through co-investment with industry.

11% said it should not be funded at all if it is not commercially viable.

Over a fifth back the costs being picked up solely by port operators, despite this going against the UK’s “polluter pays” principle, soon to be enshrined in law by the Environment Bill.

New research on funding

As the COP26 climate change conference focuses on transport today, the British Ports Association (BPA) is publishing new updated findings from research into shore power provision around the world.

The BPA examined 92 shore power projects over 1MVA undertaken in the last 20 years, using a variety of public and private sources and again found no known instance of shore power projects installed without public funding support. This updates work undertaken for a report into the barriers to the provision of shore power published by the BPA in May 2020, adding ten projects announced in the meantime and making a new map with some of the projects publicly available in one place.

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The 2020 BPA report examining the provision of shore power in UK ports found three primary barriers:

  • High capital costs for shoreside and energy infrastructure
  • A lack of demand for shoreside power from ships
  • Uncompetitive pricing of UK electricity against marine fuels

The UK Government’s transport decarbonisation plan published earlier this year committed to a consultation by the end of 2021 on the possibility of regulating shore power, including a possible mandate for ports and/or ships.

Ahead of an expected consultation this year, the BPA has worked with industry partners on a series of common principles that any UK shore power regulation should conform to, including being technology neutral (goal based), equitable, addressing wider network and planning issues, and accompanied by public investment. These principles will be published and form the basis of the BPA’s response to the government’s proposals once they are made public.

“Our research shows billions being invested by governments around the world to make shore power a reality. This demonstrates that there is a clear, proven model for making shore power work and it’s one where both supply and demand side issues are tackled simultaneously and public support is provided for the capital investment,” Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy at the British Ports Association said.

“We were pleased to see the clean maritime fund extended into a multi-year programme in the spending review and we look forward to learning how new transport funding will be allocated. We hope that Ministers recognise the strong case for allocating a significant part of this to maritime and a green maritime fund as many other countries have done.”