Port of San Diego boosts cruise ship shore power capabilities

The Port of San Diego is adding more shore power connectivity at its B Street cruise ship terminal to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on and around San Diego Bay.

Port of San Diego

At its meeting on December 5, 2023, the Board of Port Commissioners awarded a $676,273 equipment purchase and consulting service agreement contract to Watts Marine (formerly Cochran Marine).

The additional shore power connection point enables vessels with starboard connections to access shore power at B Street Pier’s south berth, adding further versatility to the existing system.

“The Port of San Diego has shown we are not afraid to be a port first AND take our role as an environmental champion of the bay to heart,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

“The cruise industry injects hundreds of millions of dollars into our local economy and provides jobs for San Diegans making it vital for the Port to find ways to revolutionize the industry in an environmentally conscientious way and secure the industry’s longevity.”

As explained, the latest investment in shore power helps meet one of several goals in the port’s Maritime Clean Air Strategy by significantly reducing pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) and diesel particulate matter (DPM), as well as greenhouse gas emissions. What is more, it supports the port’s goal of a healthy and sustainable bay and advances the port’s commitment to the California Air Resource Board’s At-Berth Regulation.

Earlier this year, California granted more than $1.5 billion – including approximately $450 million for zero-emission infrastructure, locomotives, vessels and vehicles – as part of the state’s work to build a more efficient, sustainable and resilient supply chain.

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The design phase of the third shore power connection at the Port of San Diego is scheduled to begin in winter 2023 and is anticipated to be completed in 2024. The port put its first shore power connection at the cruise terminals into service in 2010, making it among the first ports in California to have shore power available for cruise ships and beating a state regulation to reduce diesel particulate emissions from at least 50 percent of cruise calls by nearly four years.

A second shore power plug was installed in 2022 allowing for two ships to simultaneously use shore power rather than running their diesel engines while at berth.

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The port’s investment into adding shore power to various cruise and cargo terminal areas totals approximately $24.7 million in infrastructure costs to date.