Shore power

Shore power is a technology that enables ships fitted with the necessary equipment to shut down diesel powered auxiliary engines and plug into land-based electrical power. This significantly reduces emissions of pollutants that degrade air quality and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. It also reduces engine noise.

Shore power is not one-size-fits-all system. There are a number of conditions that affect whether a ship can plug in, including availability of terminal facilities, configuration of a terminal’s shore power equipment, the location and limitations of the ship’s shore power equipment, and the availability of power from BC Hydro.

We are continuing to take the lead to make shore power connections available at Port of Vancouver marine terminals, and offering incentives to shipping lines to use shore power such as discounts on harbour dues for shore-power enabled vessels. Provided the demand for shore power continues to increase, shore power facilities at terminals will be phased in over a number of years.

Shore power for cruise ships

In 2009, the Canada Place cruise ship terminal became the first in Canada and third in the world to offer shore power for cruise ships. In 2013, we installed an additional jib, or connection point, to further facilitate connections.

Since 2009, shore power installations at the Port of Vancouver cruise ship terminal have eliminated 582 tonnes of air pollutants and 20,757 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

Reductions in air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions*
Fuel savings 16.0 tonnes
Net greenhouse gas emission reductions (CO2e) 50.6 tonnes
Criteria air contaminants reduced** 1.1 tonnes

* Per call through the use of shore power at Port of Vancouver cruise ship terminal, estimates based on a 110,000 Gross Registered Tonne (GRT) ship, Tier II engine, at berth for 10 hours.

** Criteria air contaminants include sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and ammonia.

Shore power for container ships

Shore power is also available for container ships at the Centerm container terminal and at Deltaport, Canada’s largest container terminal.

Anticipated reductions in air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions*
Fuel savings 30.7 tonnes
Net greenhouse gas emission reductions (CO2e) 94.6 tonnes
Criteria air contaminants reduced** 1.4 tonnes

* Per call through the use of shore power at Port of Vancouver container terminals, estimates based on a 8,500 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) ship, Tier II engine, at berth for 60 hours.

** Criteria air contaminants include sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and ammonia.

Frequently asked questions about shore power for container ships

What is shore power?

Shore power is a clean technology that enables ships that are fitted with the necessary technical apparatus to shut down auxiliary engines and connect to the land-based electrical grid.

What are the benefits of shore power?

Shore power:

  • reduces fuel consumption of container ships while at berth by allowing auxiliary engines to shut down and the ship to be powered by the electrical grid, predominantly hydroelectric based, resulting in lower greenhouse gas and air quality emissions
  • reduces noise associated with ship engines

Each connection reduces greenhouse gases, the equivalent to taking 20 cars off the road for one year.

Over time, as more ships call are able to connect, and as those ships grow in size and more terminals offer connections, the emission reduction benefits will grow.

Which terminals and berths at the Port of Vancouver offer shore power services for container ships?

Shore power is available to container ships at Centerm container terminal and at Deltaport, Canada’s largest container terminal. The port authority installed shore power with support from Transport Canada and BC Hydro, and in collaboration with the respective container terminal operators Global Container Terminals and DP World Vancouver.

Shore power facilities at Centerm berth five have been operational since May 2018, and the container shore power system there is the first in Canada adhering to current international standards for container ships.

Shore power at the third berth at Deltaport is now operational since November 2019.

The port authority will be considering expansion of shore power facilities to additional berths, depending on the uptake by shipping lines, feasibility studies to confirm infrastructure conditions and electrical availability, and funding.

Please visit our website regularly for updates.

Are there an incentive programs for shipping lines that plug into shore power?

Shore power capability qualifies a ship calling at the Port of Vancouver for the EcoAction program, providing discounted harbour dues rates and opportunities to be recognized with the Blue Circle Award.

Information on how to apply is available here on our website at portvancouver.com/ecoaction.

In addition, as electricity in British Columbia is less expensive per unit of energy than the low sulphur marine diesel fuel that vessels are required to use within 200 nautical miles of our shores, it is possible shore power enabled vessels may see financial savings through reduced fuel costs.

Is plugging into shore power mandatory?

In Canada, federal legislation does not require that shore power connections be mandatory.

How has the installations of shore power been paid for?

Total project funding for the installation of shore power at Centerm and Deltaport is $14 million: this amount is equally split between funding from Transport Canada’s Shore Power Technology for Ports Program and from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The port authority’s portion will be recovered, over time, from port users through harbor dues.

What is the demand for shore power from container ships calling the Port of Vancouver?

Container terminals at the Port of Vancouver typically have approximately 300 vessel calls per year, 34 per cent of which have shore power capability. Of this 34 per cent, however, not all are capable of connecting to our shore power infrastructure. Although it seems straightforward, shore power is not a one-size-fits-all system. In fact, there are a number of conditions that affect whether a ship can plug in, including the availability of shore power facilities, the configuration of a terminal’s shore power equipment, the location and limitations of the ship’s shore power connection, and the availability of power from BC Hydro.

Market forecasts predict that the demand for shore power will rise. Providing infrastructure for the use of cleaner power is an important step. Now that an international standard for shore power technology has been established, we hope to see increased uptake in its use.

We are plugging our ship into shore power for the first time at the Port of Vancouver, what do we need to do?

If you plan to plug into shore power at one of the terminals with shore power capability, please contact the terminal operator as you normally would. The port authority is not involved in ship commissioning. The terminal operator will require advance notification that you’ll be plugging in and can then initiate the commissioning process.

What are the technical specifications for shore power equipment?

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has applied the IEC/ISO/IEEE 80005-1 2012-07 International Standard for landside High Voltage Shore Connection (HVSC) Systems for the shore power installations at the Port of Vancouver.

General requirements for utility connections at the Port of Vancouver:

  • Voltages and frequencies
    • Nominal Operation Voltage shore-side power supply: Three Phase 6.6kV A.C
    • At the connection point, looking at the socket/connector face, the phase sequence shall be as per IEC/ISO/IEEE 80005-1 2012-07 International Standard, Annex D
    • Operation Frequency: Shore-side frequency is 60 Hz. (Note this is not dual 50/60Hz frequency as only 60HZ is required for vessels calling in the Pacific North-West Region)
  • Power plug and socket outlets
    • Design, dimensions, general arrangement and ratings of a power plug are described in IEC 62613-1:2001 and IEC 62613-2:2001: Plugs, socketoutlets and ship couplers for HVSC systems.
    • Each shore side AMP – HVSC vault has two outlets.
    • Two parallel high voltage power cables each including three high voltage energized conductors, three pilot conductors, and one ground (earth) conductor, shall be used for HVSC systems up to a maximum power demand of 7,5 MVA.
    • IEC 62613-1: Socket-outlet rated shore circuit current is 16 kA / 1s and a maximum peak shore-circuit current of 40 kA.
      • The cable management system shall be located on board ship.

What is the BC Hydro electrical rate?

A fair and competitive electricity rate is integral to the successful adoption and growth of shore power technology.

BC Hydro established a non-firm Shore Power rate, Tariff Supplement 86 (TS 86), for eligible vessels (including container ships, cruise ships, bulk carriers and other deep sea vessels).

This rate enables terminal operators to provide shore power at a predictable unit electricity cost, (i.e. without unit cost uncertainties resulting from the presence of a demand charge).

There are no demand charges in TS 86 – vessels will be charged for metered energy use only plus a nominal administrative fee.