Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric joins project to provide offshore charging station for ships at anchorage

Schneider Electric, a French company specializing in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has decided to join a collaborative effort to develop and deliver the first cold ironing buoy designed to power cruise ships at anchorage.

The project – which is being led by Orcades Marine Management Consultants – aims to reduce emissions from cruise ships anchoring at the Bay of Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands off Scotland.

As explained, the solution aims to reduce the pollution they produce whilst idling offshore, improving air quality near the shoreline.

While cold ironing is already widely available for ships at berth, no solution currently exists to provide cold ironing for ships at anchorage. The cold ironing buoy will provide energy from nearby renewable sources including wind turbines, solar PV and tidal turbines, to charge hybrid cruise ships to meet their significant energy needs, according to the company.

The initial project – which has received over £300,000 (about $374,000) of funding from the Department of Transport – will involve a front-end engineering design (FEED), along with a comprehensive feasibility study which looks at the technical, economic, and social impacts of the technology as part of the UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC).

Once complete, work will start to build the cold ironing buoy which will be powered by an onshore power supply (OPS) through a subsea cable to the anchorage point.

As a key technical partner in the consortium, Schneider Electric will help establish the technical and commercial viability of the project, supporting with a GAP analysis and the Pre-FEED for the infrastructure upgrade. It will also assess the project’s technical, economic and operational feasibility and create an adoption roadmap for the pilot demonstration.

As well as Orcades, Schneider is joined by Orkney Island Council Harbour Authority, shipping agency GAC UK and environmental consultancy business Aquatera. Each organization in this consortium brings a high level of experience in its own field, allowing for the delivery of a comprehensive project, covering considerations from engineering, safety, harbor operations and management, to environmental and stakeholder engagement.

The Bay of Kirkwall was carefully selected as the location for this project due to its popularity as a cruise ship destination and its potential to produce renewable energy. Since 2013, Orkney has generated over 100% of its electricity demand from renewable sources and this rose to 128% by 2020.

“There has been an increasing drive to reduce emissions in the maritime industry in recent years. We are proud to play a part in this move to greener shipping. As an organisation our purpose is to make sustainability accessible to all, and to empower everyone to make the most of our energy and resources. There is an increasingly clear need for cleaner and more sustainable processes and guidance in the ports and maritime industry. This project will be a positive step forward in terms of fulfilling that need and demonstrating what a more sustainable future could look like,” Shaun Faulkner, Seaport Segment Lead at Schneider Electric, commented.

“I’m thrilled to announce our successful grant award from the Department of Transport’s CMDC. Our aim is clear – to eliminate carbon emissions from some of the largest ships within port limits. This project marks a significant step towards a cleaner, more sustainable maritime future, and we’re committed to driving innovation and positive change in the industry,” David Thomson, Managing Director of Orcades Marine, said.