Cruise ships that sail to Montreal and vessels that winter in the port can now connect to shore power as part of an $11-million project that is expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2,800 tonnes per year.

In the first green initiative of its kind in Quebec, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) completed its two-pronged shore power project in August. In Phase 1, the MPA set up four power supply stations at Berths 25, 27, 29 and M2 for vessels that winter at the port. In Phase 2, it introduced shower power for cruise ships as part of the modernization of Alexandra Pier and the new cruise terminal.

Vessels docked at these berths can now shut down their marine diesel engines and plug in to the electric power grid to provide the necessary power to the ships while in port. Reducing air emissions from these marine diesel engines leads to better ambient air quality.

Eliminating up to 2,800 tonnes of GHGs annually is comparable to reducing the distance driven by passenger vehicles by more than 10 million kilometres or replacing almost 100,000 incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, according to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

To provide a sufficient power supply for cruise ships, Hydro-Québec installed a new 25 kV line to supply the new substation installed at the cruise terminal in 2016. Schneider Electric designed and built the equipment needed to install the electrical substation. The work was carried out in 2016 and 2017. The first successful cruise connection occurred on July 29 when Holland America Line’s ms Veendam plugged in to the electric power grid.

The MPA contributed $3 million toward the shore power project. The Government of Canada is contributing up to $5 million under its Shore Power Technology for Ports Program. The Government of Quebec contributed $3 million under its program to improve marine, air and rail transportation efficiency to reduce GHG emissions (PETMAF en matière de réduction des émissions de GES).

“Working in concert with our various partners and improving air and water quality are among the MPA’s main guidelines for sustainable development,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the MPA. “This shore power project will result in a significant reduction in GHG emissions, offsetting virtually all the GHG emissions for which the MPA is responsible.” Ms. Vachon thanked the governments of Canada and Quebec for their contributions to the project.

“The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining a safe, efficient and green transportation system,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau. “By taking action to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution, we are improving the lives of Canadians while investing in the future of cleaner transportation. New and emerging technologies are laying the groundwork for Canada’s present and future economic growth.”

Added Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification: “This investment, which will make it possible to consolidate the Port of Montreal’s position in the international cruise network, demonstrates the Government of Quebec’s commitment to contribute to Quebec’s economic development, in keeping with the principles of sustainable mobility. In addition to optimizing the energy efficiency of a marine transportation sector, the investment is major backing for implementing a project that benefits the environment. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under our assistance program are remarkable, both in terms of the resulting GHG reductions and the introduction of new technologies related to marine transportation.”

David Murray, President of Hydro-Québec Distribution, said: “We would like to congratulate the Montreal Port Authority on their initiative to offer cruise ships the opportunity to use shore power when the ship is docked. This is another fine example of the extraordinary potential of our clean renewable energy during the energy transition to transportation electrification.”

“The Montreal Port Authority has demonstrated environmental leadership through the implementation of shore power at the new cruise terminal in Old Montreal,” said Schneider Electric Canada President Juan Macias. “Schneider Electric Canada and the Montreal Port Authority can be proud of this innovative and sustainable solution that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves the quality of life for port communities and the world at large.”