At dock ships require energy to operate certain types of equipment, such as electric pumps, lighting and heating systems. Ships usually use their diesel-powered auxiliary engines or generators which emit greenhouse gases and air pollutants.

An alternative to the use of diesel fuel is the installation of shore power technology to reduce air emissions.  This technology enables ships at berth to use shore-side electricity to meet their energy needs during idling.

Even though the technology seems simple to install, it is not a plug-and-play solution. Many factors influence the complexity and the installation costs, such as the configuration of the land-based shore power equipment, the location and limitations of the ship’s shore power connection (if the ship has one at all), and the availability of power.

The federal government launched a funding program to help ports finance the installation of shore power technology on their facilities.  The Shore Power Technology for Ports Program (SPTP) is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to limit air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and to improve air quality in ports near major cities.

In the St. Lawrence, the ports of Quebec and Montreal were both able to take advantage of this program. The Port of Montreal installed shore power technology for vessels docking at the port during the winter months, as well as for cruise ships at its new cruise terminal. This ambitious initiative is expected to reduce GHG emission by 2 800 tonnes annually.

At the Port of Quebec a similar project is underway at the cruise terminal.