In Vancouver, Plugging In Before Setting Sail

New York Times

By Dan Saltzstein

At Vancouver’s port, certain cruise ships can now plug into the city’s electrical grid while docked. Photo - Port Metro Vancouver

Cruise ships on their way to Alaska often stop in Vancouver, engines idling, wasting diesel fuel and polluting the crisp, northern Pacific air. Now, Port Metro Vancouver, Canada’s largest port and host to more than 250 cruise ship visits in 2009, is offering a greener alternative: ships can now plug into the city’s electrical grid while docked.

The shore power system, which cost 9 million Canadian dollars, allows ships to shut down their engines and connect to BC Hydro’s electrical grid through what is essentially a giant plug. The venture is the third of its kind in the world (the first two were Seattle and Juneau).

The new shore power facility was a joint initiative between federal and provincial agencies and two cruise lines, Holland America and Princess Cruises. (Four Princess ships and one Holland America ship will use shore power in Vancouver during the remainder of the 2009 Alaska cruise season, which ends this month.)

Port Metro Vancouver estimates that each cruise ship that docks in Vancouver contributes 2 million Canadian dollars to the local economy.

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