On 17 December, the Council, European Parliament and Commission are coming together for a first trialogue meeting in view of reaching a first reading agreement on the proposed directive for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure. Two of the issues under discussion are of direct interest for European seaports: the provision of LNG refuelling facilities in core ports and the shore side electricity infrastructure.
Concerning the deployment of LNG refuelling points in ports of the European core TEN-T network, ESPO:
- Is in favour of the pragmatic approach that is currently taken by both European institutions: the aim should be the deployment of a sufficient network of LNG refuelling points taking market realities and distances between ports into account.
- Believes that such an LNG refuelling network needs to be deployed by 2020 in selected core TEN-T ports in order to be in consistency with the entering into force of the sulphur directive
- Believes, it is of outmost importance that the relevant co-funding possibilities for LNG projects are ensured also after the 2014-2020.
“LNG is to be the most promising medium term solution in view of tackling holistically the environmental performance of shipping We cannot deny the coming into force of the sulphur directive; The 2020 deadline can be supported if it is applied in a pragmatic way and if 2020 does not mean that the radical end of EU co-funding of LNG deployment projects”, says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.
On shore side electricity ESPO is clearly against any introduction of legal obligations to ports for the provision of this technology.
Port feasibility studies clearly demonstrate that shore side electricity is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of solution and should therefore not be imposed horizontally. It should be promoted where and insofar it is beneficial for the environment and cost effective. As a result, ESPO cannot support the result of the TRAN committee vote which introduces a strict obligation for core TEN-T ports to provide shore side electricity to vessels requiring more than 1 MWA in berths located within 3 km of residential areas.
“We cannot support the Parliament’s proposals on shore side electricity, ” says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General. “European ports have been actively supporting this technology and exploring the possibility of providing shore side electricity in their berths. This has in cases lead to successful implementation projects. However, in other cases port feasibility studies show a lack of significant environmental benefits and disproportionate high investment costs. We are therefore convinced that any investment on shore side electricity needs to be justified through local feasibility studies and not imposed through a strict obligation”.