Electrification a key part of maritime decarbonisation, says report

Shore-power is taking off in Europe, but is held back in the UK by high electricity taxes and a lack of Government support.

Governments in France, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Sweden are helping their ports use shore-power, with grants for investment and reductions in electricity taxes. But the UK is not.

The imminent Transport Decarbonisation Plan is a big opportunity for the UK Government to rectify this and meaningful support should start as soon as this week’s Budget

BPA believes.

The research, undertaken by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester, gathered evidence from across the maritime sector and beyond.

Its findings reveal that there is widespread interest in shore-power for dramatically reducing the emissions from ships whilst they are in port.

There is a also strong consensus that electrification is a key part of the decarbonisation solution for maritime and that its use should grow.

However, the research also explains the barriers to this potential. Shore-power projects are difficult and expensive, with few if any going ahead worldwide without Government support.

In addition, ports are often constrained by lack of energy network capacity in their area, and complex regulation of the energy system.

The report argues that these barriers can be overcome, with a central role for Government through:

  • An investment fund to support the development of shorepower projects by 2025;
  • A consultation on reductions in electricity taxation for shore-power to allow it to compete fairly with marine diesel oil, as is the case in some competitor nations;
  • A commitment to put in place a zero-emission regulatory standard for vessels in port;
  • A commitment to enabling wider port electrification and smart grids through changes to electricity network planning and regulation.

Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group, stated:

Ports and the maritime sector are committed to reducing emissions and playing their crucial role in a net zero future for the UK. Today’s research shows the hunger from industry to increase electrification of its activities. We as industry know we have more to do, but Government has an essential enabling role to play. Government needs to back its ambition and targets with investment support and improvements to the energy system

In the same wavelength, Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy and External Affairs for the British Ports Association, notes that there is a firm consensus as to the main barriers to the widespread electrification of ports, including the installation of shore power for ships.

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