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Home EnergyAlternative Sources of Energy The port of Piraeus enters the era of ship electrification

The port of Piraeus enters the era of ship electrification

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Piraeus 08 Dec 2023 –  Important issues relating to the new data generated by the electrification of ships in ports were examined at the Conference held with great success and significant attendance on Friday, December 8, in the events hall of the Piraeus Port Authority, on the topic Electrification of Ships in the Port of Piraeus – Prospects and Challenges.

…a view of the audience whilst Shipping minister Christos Stylianides delivers his speech

The conference was held in the context of the energy transition of the infrastructure of the port of Piraeus and the adaptation of its port operations to the imperatives of the Green Agreement and the EU Package of Measures Fit for 55, which makes reaching the EU’s climate goal of reducing EU emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (a legal obligation) and Piraeus Port Authority  logistics subsidiary OLP through two projects co-financed by the EU’s CIPORT and EALING. This is already underway with related actions, having completed all the technical studies for five ship electrification positions in coastal shipping and four cruise ship electrification positions, and the launch of construction of the said projects.

The gathering focused on the presentation of initiatives for the development of ship electrification systems in ports and the exchange of views in order to formulate sustainable operational, regulatory and financial models.

It was opened by the deputy managing director of the port authority, Mr. Panagiotis Tsonis (pictured above) , who referred to the completion by the logistics arm in 2023 of the EALING project which concerns the preparation of the final technical, environmental and financial studies for 5 electrification sites for coastal ships on the piers of Poseidon, Agios Dionysios, Yetionia, Perikleous, with a total power of 13.5 MVA, as well as CIPORT focusing on the preparation of the required studies for 4 cruise ship electrification sites on the Themistocleous Coast Piers. He spoke about the cooperation of OLP with the ports of Thessaloniki and Patras and the manager of the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network to submit a proposal of common interest of national importance to the CEF program, offering at the same time the transfer of know-how to accelerate the implementation of such projects in the specific ports, as well as the initiative of setting up a group consisting of relevant bodies at the national level, to study and investigate the required regulatory and legislative specifications.

Finally, he emphasized the particular challenges of implementing, at port level, ship electrification systems, but also the one-way street of transforming ports into “green” zero-pollution ports, which is now the main goal at European and global level, in which the EU transport policy has played a leading role.

Then the Minister of Shipping and Insular Policy of Greece, Mr. Christos Stylianidis , took the podium, noting that Greece has regained the first place worldwide in the framework of the International Maritime Organization, and emphasized the specific and strict obligations of electrification for the ports set for 2030, a fact which, as he said, forces us to “run” for the relevant infrastructures. He observed that electrification will play an important role both for the “green” transition and for the competitiveness of Greek ports at the European and global level. He insisted that the challenges created by nuclear energy are significant, but in the long term, and added that the interim period cannot be “covered” with existing fuels and it is necessary to go to more “green” solutions.

The first round of speakers ended with the Secretary General of Private Investments of the Ministry of Development, Ms. Vasiliki (Vicky) Loizou (pictured above), who underlined that the role of the port of Piraeus is important in many sectors such as tourism, trade and foreign investments, and added that the port is among the best in Europe and is constantly being upgraded in the relevant ranking. She pledged that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will support every effort to upgrade the port, as well as any other port in the country, while noting that interest in Piraeus from abroad is great and is constantly being upgraded.

Then, the consultant of the marketing and quality control department of OLP, Mr. Dimitris Spyrou, and Mr. Dimitrios Lyridis, professor of the National Technical University of Athens, detailed the ongoing projects of OLP, EALING ( European flagship Action for cold Ironing in ports ) and CIPORT (cold Ironing in the Port of Piraeus), as well as the potential they create.

In particular, Mr. Spyrou referred to the EALING program which foresees 5 electrification positions for coastal vessels for the port of Piraeus, at an estimated cost of 18 million euros, and added that all the studies of the program have been completed. He said that the program is linked to the National Energy and Climate Plan, as well as to the DEDDIE study on the predicted future power that the port of Piraeus will require, with in January 2024 the relevant funding request.

For his part, Mr. Dimitrios Lyridis referred to the CIPORT program, which provides for the creation of four berths for cruise ships in the port of Piraeus, while the cost, when finalized, is expected to be submitted for funding from the CEF program.

The speeches and the presentation of the projects were followed by two round tables.

The first was on the initiatives by the Greek ports to create infrastructures for the electrical supply for ships, coordinated by the professor of the National Technical University, Mr. Yiannis Prousalidis, and participants were Dr. Stefanos Dallas, EU Program Manager of PROTASIS SA, Costas Komninos, Director of the DAFNI network – Sustainable Islands Network, Giorgos Loupos, director of research and innovation of DEDDIE, Theofanis Matsopoulos, CEO of the Rafina Port Organization SA, and Minas Papadakis, managing director of the organization Port of Heraklion SA (Crete) (pictured above).

In the context of the discussion, Dr. Stefanos Dallas said that from participating in similar studies for ports in other countries, the difficulties and challenges were identified, while he noted that the existing port infrastructure needs significant changes. He also highlighted the high energy requirements of the projects, and noted that this constitutes a significant challenge for DEDDIE (Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator SA.)

Mr. Theofanis Matsopoulos spoke about the important challenges that are created for the ports, and he referred to the port of Rafina where the relevant studies are being completed and foresee 3 electrification sites with a total cost of 8 million euros. He backed the very important role of DEDDIE.

Mr. Minas Papadakis spoke about the port of Heraklion (Crete) which, as he said, is the 6th coastal shipping port in Greece, while he referred to 2 study projects that have been completed and foresee 5 places for electrification of ships, but also energy production from wave generators, which are estimated to produce 3.2 million kilowatt hours per year. He emphasized the importance of interconnecting the islands with the continental electricity distribution network, but also securing significant funding resources, stating that Italy has secured Community funding for 100% financing of all its ports for the relevant infrastructure. He said of the cost of electrification that this must be in the interest of the ships because otherwise they will not use it, as well as the cost of the retrofitting needed by the ships, which, as he said, is not negligible.

Mr. Kostas Komninos for his part spoke of the different requirements created by the different size and special characteristics of the ports, but also by the type and size of the ships, and noted that opportunities are created in the shipyards for the production of smaller and more ” green” ships.

Finally, Mr. Giorgos Loupos mentioned that today DEDDIE serves approximately 8 million customers with 240,000 km of cables, and in its role it must not only bring the required energy to the ports, but it must also be “green”, which creates additional challenges and demands. The program to convert the network to “smart” is in full progress (on the basis of a 5-year plan) and Mr. Loupos emphasized the importance of the accompanying infrastructure to support the electrification of the ports, while underlining the need to find “smart” ways to overcome the practical obstacles that are encountered each time.

The day was closed by the second round table which had as its topic the support of the energy transformation of the ports, coordinated by the professor of the National Technical University of Athens, Mr. Yiannis Prousalidis, and the participants were Stratis Apergis, Member of the Board of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, Co-Founder & CEO, Levante Ferris, Newsphone Hellas, Dimitri Fourlaris, Vice President of the Energy Sector, Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water – RAAEY, Theodoros Kontes, Director of Majestic International Cruises, Honorary President of the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Shipping Agencies, Vasilios Mamalis, Executive Director, Union Ports of Greece – ELIME, and Dionysios Theodoratos, President, Association of Passenger Shipping Companies (pictured above).

Mr. Apergis stated that the electrification of ships is clearly a positive step from every point of view, however he expressed his concern about the amount of investment that will be required for the ships, while regarding the cost of electrification he noted the need to adjust this to the current cost of running the ships’ generators using “conventional” fuels. He emphasized the need for the companies to be able to negotiate directly with the energy providers, while adding that in his opinion the specific investments in the ports should be treated in terms of depreciation over a long-term horizon of at least 20 years.

He referred to the case of the port of Kyllini where it had been selected for years for the development of a pilot application and already in 2018 it had carried out the first electrification of a ship; however, as he said, the follow-up was not comparable and the project was left to its fate with the result that it gradually became non-functional. He noted that this is a very good example of what not to do this time.

Mr. Vasilios Mamalis expressed his concern about the increased cost of energy that will arise with the electrification, and noted that this will probably be passed on to the fend-consumer, just as is the case today with the costs arising from “conventional” fuels; for this reason it is of great importance to ensure that the benefit of electrification is maximized. He recommended that the responsible minister should soon commit to how many and which ports will acquire electricity infrastructure by 2030, as well as to the individual specifications of each port in order for companies to be able to utilize the specific infrastructures they will have to know in time to make their planning.

Mr. Dionysis Theodoratos noted the need to have the same specifications and the same “logic of approach” in all ports, but also the need to modernize all ports and not just the largest ones. He also emphasized that electricity for electrification should be treated legally and fiscally in the same way that marine fuel is treated today. He focused on the cost of the relevant conversions on a ship, stating that the average cost is 400-450 thousand euros. but it can even reach 1 million euros. He also noted the need to renew the fleet as it, he said, has an average age of 22-23 years, added the need to be able to choose the energy provider companies, and proposed that the electricity used to electrify ships should not be taxed for a decade to incentivize ships to adjust their specifications to use it.

Mr. Theodoros Kontes mentioned that the first ship of Majestic International Cruises had already made the necessary adjustments in the Netherlands in order to be electrified by port infrastructures, and he particularly emphasized the need for a competitive pricing policy in electricity. He spoke of the need to scrutinize the purchase of new ships so that the infrastructure that will be created is not at risk of underperforming as, he said, most new cruise ships are considerably smaller than the large and very large cruise ships we have known until now, while many new ships have infrastructures with batteries that give them the required power for several hours so that they do not need interconnection in ports. Small electric ships could meet the needs of the Argosaronic Gulf, and similar infrastructure should be provided for them in the port of Piraeus. There should be close cooperation with the companies to resolve the practical issues (such as the reception points of the power supply cables, while he also referred to the need to clarify the infrastructure creation schedule, so that the tour operators can also do Finally, he noted that major ports should also be power producers, not just managers, not for ships, but to meet their own needs, and expressed the view that perhaps this should be legislated for the big ports.

Finally, Mr. Dimitris Fourlaris said that ERAEF (Greek Atomic Energy Commission) has already prepared relevant studies on the changes in energy needs and infrastructure due to the electrification of ships and added that the burden in this matter falls mainly on DEDDIE. He added that the way in which provision for marine fuel can be transferred to the current that will electrify the ships is being considered, while he noted that it is important to solve practical issues, such as the easy exchange of energy sources not only from the side of ships, but also from the side of the ports (eg switching from “conventional” to “green” electricity when this is possible). He also mentioned that the possibility of the choice of each port as to whether it will only be a manager of the power to electrify ships, or whether it can also be a provider, is under consideration.

The conference was successfully concluded by a recapitulation of the main points and concerns over the future implementation of the projects and the developments that are being signaled at the Greek, European and international level.

A pleasant light buffet lunch took place; in the morning coffee break was a very good opportunity for further networking and discussion on the unique electrification theme and studies. 

Many congratulations to Slide2Open and its founder Despina Travlou and all in her team for their excellent organisation, good time keeping and a first class Q&A.

N.B: PPA SA = Piraeus Port Authority, in Greek with latin characters is OLP (Organismos Limenos Pireos)

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