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Shore Power for Vessels Calling at U.S. Ports: Benefits and Costs

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-02-02, 00:00 authored by Parth Vaishnav, Paul S. Fischbeck, M. Granger Morgan, James J. Corbett
When in port, ships burn marine diesel in on-board generators to produce electricity and are significant contributors to poor local and regional air quality. Supplying ships with grid electricity can reduce these emissions. We use two integrated assessment models to quantify the benefits of reducing the emissions of NOX, SO2, PM2.5, and CO2 that would occur if shore power were used. Using historical vessel call data, we identify combinations of vessels and berths at U.S. ports that could be switched to shore power to yield the largest gains for society. Our results indicate that, depending on the social costs of pollution assumed, an air quality benefit of $70–150 million per year could be achieved by retrofitting a quarter to two-thirds of all vessels that call at U.S. ports. Such a benefit could be produced at no net cost to society (health and environmental benefits would be balanced by the cost of ship and port retrofit) but would require many ships to be equipped to receive shore power, even if doing so would result in a private loss for the operator. Policy makers could produce a net societal gain by implementing incentives and mandates to encourage a shift toward shore power.