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Gothenburg announces new approach to delivering shore power to tankers

by admin
Nick Austin

By Reed Smith partner Nick Austin and trainee solicitor Ahmed Walley

The Gothenburg Port Authority has announced a new concept to provide shoreside power to tankers berthed at the Energy Terminal in a safe, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective way. In collaboration with shipping companies, European and national ports, classification societies, local oil companies, and the Swedish Transport Agency, it aims to set new global standards for delivery of shoreside power to tankers berthed in hazardous environments.

This concept is not without obstacles. Newly built tankers will need to be fitted with shoreside power connectors which adhere to a common standard applied at all ports. Additionally, there is an inherent risk of fire or an explosion where a vessel is berthed at an energy terminal as the electrical equipment could cause a spark where flammable products are being pumped.

Classification requires tankers at sea to have a power supply point which is located only aft of the bridge. Whilst this does not apply when a tanker arrives at an energy terminal, vessel builders have used this as a starting point in the design of vessels fitted with shoreside power connectors.

However, vessels vary in length considerably and often exceed 150 metres. By contrast, quays are often much shorter. Conventional design would require the building of connection cranes to reach connectors, as well as long cables connected to complex cranes to lift the cables. The proposed solution to avoid the considerable expense of doing this is to put the power connection point in the centre of the vessel. As tankers have their loading crane in the centre of the vessel, this can work as a solution. It would also remove problems of vessel length and direction of docking.

In response to the risk of explosion where power needs to be supplied in an explosive atmosphere, the Port of Gothenburg have taken to working with overpressure in the spaces where electrical equipment is housed and connected, to shut off any explosive gasses.

This approach is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 1,800 tonnes annually by using green power over marine diesel. It also supports the port’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030.

The first tanker to be connected to a green shore power supply at the Energy Terminal is expected in spring 2024.

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