The CEO of Portland Port, Bill Reeves, has warned that it risks losing cruise lines calls if it is unable to provide shore power services.
Portland Port is seeking to build an Energy Recovery Facility which, according to Reeves, is ‘vital’ to securing the future of the UK port. However, in an Extraordinary Planning Meeting held earlier this week, Portland Town Council voted against plans for the power station.
Stressing the ‘vital importance to the Port and the local area’, Reeves said the power station will safeguard the Port’s business ‘now and in the future’. He also highlighted the importance of establishing cold ironing services to ensure that cruise ships continue to call at the port.
‘Cruise lines who are keen to demonstrate their environmental credentials will, in the next 5-10 years, get to a point where they demand that any port that takes their visits provides shore power,’ said Reeves. ‘About 30% of the world’s cruise liners are currently shore power enabled and all new cruise ships are shore power enabled.’
Reeves continued: ‘In addition to the cruise liners calling at the Port, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is a major customer and all their ships are shore power enabled. The RFA would like to be able to take shore power whilst at berth at the Port.’
The Port of Portland says providing shore power through the national grid would require a major upgrade to the network onto the island, costing tens of millions of pounds.
‘If Portland Port cannot provide shore power, we risk losing the cruise line business and all the tourist spend that the local area benefits from,’ warned Reeves.
Addressing concerns about emissions from the plant, Reeves said: ‘I don’t have any concerns about emissions from the power station. I have lived and worked on the island for the last six years, and I intend to live and work on this island for a number of years to come.
‘If I thought there was any risk to human health or the environment from this power station, I would not support the project. I trust our regulators, and our regulators are charged with protecting human health and the environment. I think they do a good job, and they’ll do a good job here.
‘Building the power station is vital to this Port’s future. We must be able to provide shore power in the next 5-10 years and we also need the additional electrical power capacity to enable our current tenants to expand and to attract new tenants and jobs.’