Victoria Cruise Terminal readies for shore power project

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) Board of Directors has decided to move forward with the next stage of the shore power project for the Victoria Cruise Terminal at The Breakwater District, British Columbia, Canada.

Image Courtesy: GVHA

The Ship Emission Mitigation Technology Assessment and Business Case created by consulting firm Moffat & Nichol indicates that a reduction of more than 46% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and criteria air contaminants (CACs) can be achieved with the installation of shore power at two berths at Pier B, which welcomes 75% of all cruise ship calls during a season.

The reduction of GHG emissions and CACs is equivalent to 1,394 cars on the road per year.

The cost of the proposed solution is between $23.3 million and $24.8 million. In contrast, the 2019 gross revenues for GVHA, a not-for-profit organization, were $16.3 million.

Due to COVID-19, the suspension of cruise worldwide, and remaining uncertainty about the resumption of cruise operations in Canada and the financial impact to GVHA, the project cannot proceed until stabilization of the cruise industry is achieved and funding sources are determined.

As informed, the critical next steps in the project will focus on funding opportunities with partners and stakeholders and developing a power upgrade design and installation plan with BC Hydro.

“The Board of Directors fully supports the recommendations provided by Moffat & Nichol and GVHA staff, which helps plot a path forward for the future implementation of shore power,” Dave Cowen, Chair of the Board of Directors for GVHA, commented.

“Despite the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economic strength of GVHA, we know the tourism industry and cruise sector will recover over time. It is our intention that, with the support of the Board of Directors for this path forward, GVHA can pursue shore power in a timeline that dovetails with the global restart and rebuilding of tourism.”

Cruise ships are the largest emission source for The Breakwater District at Ogden Point, accounting for 96% of total GHG emissions at the terminal in 2018, equivalent to 3,241 cars on the road per year.

These findings were from the full-scale emissions inventory completed for GVHA by Synergy Enterprises in 2019, which subsequently supported the business case developed by Moffat & Nichol. Of this 96%, 29% of emissions are produced while the vessels were navigating and maneuvering into berth, and 71% of emissions are produced while vessels are ‘hotelling’ in port.

It is anticipated that by 2030, 85% of all vessels calling to the Victoria Cruise Terminal will be shore power capable; that number will increase to 95% by 2040.

“Our goal is to be one of the greenest ports in North America, so we are committed to this project as part of our overall strategy. The path to get to this decision has been anything but a straight line due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am pleased that the business case findings show that emissions can be reduced through the implementation of shore power,” Ian Robertson, CEO of GVHA, said.

“The challenge now is finding the right sectors of financial support for shore power. As a community-based, not-for-profit organization, we cannot afford to build this project without support from external partners.”

After extensive study of various shore power technologies, frequency conversion technology installed with the shore power connection was recommended to optimize for variability in types of cruise and non-cruise vessels, further adding to the long-term diversification of the deep-water port.

As a component of the shore power project, GVHA staff will develop an organization-wide electrification strategy, aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and objectives set out by the City of Victoria, which incorporates charging, renewable energy, and energy savings.

Although cruise visitation was suspended in Canadian ports by Transport Canada due to the impact of COVID-19, the cruise industry contributes significantly to the Greater Victoria economy. In 2019, the Victoria Cruise Terminal welcomed 256 ship calls carrying 709,000 passengers and 300,000 crew.