The air quality in the port of Kiel is very good. However, we as PORT OF KIEL strive to proactively develop solutions and do our part for keeping the air clean in our city. This is what we promised to do in our BLUE PORT Concept, this is the way we plan and act - and not just since yesterday. On-shore power is a sensible way for the ferries and cruise ships berthing in Kiel‘s city port to avoid the emission of air pollutants and noise during their docking times.
60 % OF THE CUMULATED ELECTRICITY DEMANDS DURING BERTHING TIMES OF ALL SHIPS CALLING THE PORT OF KIEL WILL BE COVERED WITH THE SUPPLY OF GREEN SHORE POWER.
Shore connecting points and power plant Ostseekai
Shore connecting point Schwedenkai
16 megavolt ampere shore-side power supply plant Ostseekai
Shore connecting point Norwegenkai
Full power high voltage.
We set standards.
Shore power? That’s what all ports offer these days, isn’t it? At least this is the impression you could get when following the discussions about this matter. Simply plugging in to turn the engines off. That doesn’t sound hard. But actually there are only a few ports in Europe, e.g. Oslo, Kristiansand, Gothenburg and Stockholm in Scandinavia, who provide shore power to big ferries on a regular basis. For cruise ships, shore power has only been made available in Hamburg and Kristiansand so far.
Why is that so?
The vessels of international shipping companies are equipped with different technology standards in regards to shore power. They have
varying requirements regarding their electricity demand ranging from 3-16 megawatts (MW). So first of all, you have to find a way to actually meet these high demands for power as the required quantities are comparable to the demand of small towns. What’s even more, the voltages and the frequencies between the on-board grid and the shore-side power supply system vary (6.6/11 kV and 50/60 Hz).
To put it bluntly this means: high investments in transformers and frequency converters. Furthermore, the available output power of the network operator needs to be considered too, especially when it comes to short circuit current and peak demands of the ships. So it does not work to just plug in and play.
Eco-power in Kiel
Kiel’s first shore power supply plant has been in operation at the Norwegenkai Terminal since May 2019 supplying the ferries of the Color Line shipping company with shore power. The second plant for the berths at the Ostseekai and Schwedenkai Terminals will start its operation in 2020. This is a facility that has to meet the diverse requirements of different international cruise and ferry shipping companies. We had to develop a customised solution featuring a high voltage substation and two different customised cable management systems and are now building this system together with the companies of ABB, Siemens and Stemmann-Technik: A cruise terminal with its own 16 megavolt ampere shore-side power supply plant, built according to the applicable ISO standards – this scale to date is unique for Germany. Of course, we will only use 100 % of green power when supplying our customers with shore power through our new onshore power supply plant.
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.