Shore Power

Shore power supply is a reasonable way to avoid emissions during demurrage, especially for ships berthing in Kiel’s city port on a daily basis.


On-Shore power starting now

As of spring 2019, the Color Line ferries will be able to connect to onshore-power so that each vessel’s diesel generators can be decommissioned during its docking time and thus the stay in Kiel becomes a pollution-free one. The onshore-power plant for the Norwegenkai terminal is part of the BLUE PORT concept by the PORT OF KIEL. This concept also includes further onshore-power supply plants at Schwedenkai and Ostseekai that will be built by 2020. That way, we will be able to supply more than half of the ships berthing in the port of Kiel with onshore-power in future. This is a decision with quite considerable associated costs. The investment in the connection at Norwegenkai alone amounts to about 1.3 million Euros. However, here we are on the same page with the State, the City and the shipping companies: Kiel is supposed to set pan-European standards for a clean port.

The Norwegenkai is the first terminal
to be equipped with an onshore-power supply plant,
Schwedenkai and Ostseekai will follow in 2020.

The vessels “Color Fantasy” and “Color Magic” of the Norwegian shipping company Color Line connect Kiel and Oslo on a daily basis. They arrive at 10 a.m. and cast off again at 2 p.m. The annual electricity consumption during their time in port amounts to about 4 million kilowatt hours. The Norwegenkai onshore-power supply plant has a maximum power rating of 4.5 megawatts (MW) at 10 kilovolt (KV) and a network frequency of 50 hertz (Hz).

The way it works: The core components of the plant are the land-to-ship power transfer station (PLUG), manufactured by the firm called NG3, alongside the air-insulated, metal-clad, medium voltage switch-board. The PLUG power transfer station is equipped with a programmable controller (PLC) which communicates with the medium voltage switchboard located in the onshorepower supply station. All the required switching procedures transferred to shore by the ship via the interface are carried out automatically. Prior to power transfer from shore to ship taking place, the system checks the functionality of all plug and cable connections. Once completed, the onshore-power connection is switched on. The ship synchronises itself with the onshore-power plant which replaces the on-board power supply.

Chart: PORT OF KIEL based on chart of Siemens AG


The power available ashore has to compete against the power generated on-board. In addition to low bunker rates, the German Renewable Engergy Act (GREA) contribution is a major cost driver for shore power, which is not charged in the often quoted ports of Scandinavia. The big passenger ferries calling at Kiel require approx. 4 GWh of shore power per year. This means additional annual cost of 275,000 Euro just due to the GREA-contribution. Furthermore, the power produced on-board is a lot more favourable because of the currently low bunker rates. This results in a high 5-digit figure cost disadvantage.

In order to justify the service in economic terms, an exemption from the GREA contribution for power to be purchased during the period of demurrage in port would be imperative. Such an exemption would also contribute significantly to enhancing the market penetration of shore power in general. Despite numerous appeals and initiatives, politicians have not taken any action so far. Shore power is something that should be required by law in order to actually realise this eco-political matter. It should be supported rather than being subject to extra cost that does somehow not apply for the conventional power generation on-board.