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The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has developed a framework for identifying the ports most deserving of investment for onshore power supply (OPS) facilities.

ESPO says that an ambitious onshore power supply deployment plan entails large investments up front and significant operational costs which cannot be borne by ports alone. Accordingly, the representative body says the only way to ensure a rapid deployment of OPS and avoid a waste of public funds is to focus on deploying OPS where it delivers cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution at berth.

Together with its members, ESPO has put forward a framework which it says can guide ports and policy makers in developing an effective and intelligent approach for OPS.

‘Europe’s ports want to go for more OPS. If ports want to prepare an ambitious and effective OPS deployment plan, there is a need to focus deployment efforts on where OPS would make sense,’ said ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost. ‘The cost of installing OPS is too high to just decide to go for OPS everywhere, without a proper analysis of costs and benefits. By pooling the experiences from ports who have done their homework on OPS, we have been able to produce a practical list of dos and don’ts for OPS.’

According to Ryckbost, ESPO has identified a series of ‘constructive criteria’ which helps in prioritising investments. This includes the OPS readiness of the ship (or shipping segment); whether the vessel (segment) is spending sufficient time at berth for it to make sense to connect; if there are frequent users of a berth (OPS connection is easier in the case of regular vessel calls at the same berth); whether the berth is used enough to make it worth the investment; and if there are planned new berths (where OPS can directly be integrated in the planning of the port).

In addition to these key criteria, ESPO says some port-specific circumstances need to be considered, including the location of the berth and of the port; berth size and layout to match the vessel connection; access to public funding; available grid capacity and access to renewable energy; and space on the berth to integrate the OPS infrastructure.

As an overall criterium, ESPO says there should be corresponding engagements between vessels, energy providers, and ports to make OPS a viable instrument in terms of both environmental and cost effectiveness.

‘We believe this assessment will give policy makers a better understanding on what is needed to come to an ambitious but effective OPS deployment policy as one of the tools to reach the ultimate goal to achieve, which is the greening of the shipping sector,’ said Ryckbost.

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