Shore Power for Ocean-going Vessels

This page reviewed February 19, 2013


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The goal of the At-Berth Regulation is to reduce diesel particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from container ships, passenger ships, and refrigerated-cargo ships at California ports. The At-Berth Regulation is just one part of the Board's Port Activities to reduce emissions associated with ports. The Board's Port Activities fit into the overall framework to clean-up emissions associated with goods movement in California under the various Goods Movement, Ports and Rail Programs. These programs are intended to reduce both local and regional impacts from goods movement. Strategies to reduce goods movement emissions are listed on page 115 of the Goods Movement Plan.

Before the At-Berth Regulation was developed, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach adopted the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. The plan was approved in 2006 with the goal to dramatically reduce port emissions across all sources. One measure in the plan proposed using shore power to reduce at-berth emissions. The ports periodically update the Clean Air Action Plan. The latest update was approved in 2010.

The Board capitalized on the efforts of the ports and early adopters when developing the At-Berth Regulation. When developing the At-Berth Regulation, staff made a determination to find the most cost effective vessels for reductions. The three main factors used to evaluate a vessel category were the frequency which a vessel visited a port, the time a vessel stays in port, and the power usage while docked. Based on this criteria, the At-Berth Regulation affects the following three vessel categories: container ships, passenger ships, and refrigerated-cargo ships and six ports: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, and Hueneme. For more information on the development of the At-Berth Regulation, visit the Rulemaking Activities page for archived rulemaking documents.

The At-Berth Regulation was Board approved in December of 2007. Early compliance began on January 1, 2010, with the Equivalent Emission Reduction Option. The majority of fleets will begin compliance on January 1, 2014, with the Reduced Onboard Power Generation Option. Compliance requirements increase from 50% in 2014 to 70% in 2017. Lastly, compliance requirements go up to 80% in 2020.

Plugging into shore power is expected to be the most common method for complying with the At-Berth Regulation. The Navy first developed shore power that allows ships to plug into electricity at the berth rather than running onboard engines. Shore power was first commercially implemented in 2001 by Princess Cruises in Alaska. China Shipping, in 2004, was the first container carrier in California to use shore power at the Port of Los Angeles. Between 2004 and 2012, the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, and San Diego have installed a total of 5 shore power berths for cruise ships and 11 shore power berths for container vessels. More shore power berths are expected to be installed in the coming years.