Cruise ships calling Seattle home required to use shore power

(SEATTLE) — The Port of Seattle on Tuesday became the first port in the nation to independently require that 100 percent of all cruise vessels home-ported in Seattle be shore-power capable and utilize shore power. The order passed by the Port of Seattle Commission takes effect in the 2027 cruise season, three years before the port’s previous goal of 2030.

“Ensuring all home-ported cruise ships utilize shore power by incorporating a requirement in our commercial agreements, the port continues to demonstrate how we can generate economic opportunities while minimizing our impact on communities and the climate,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman, who sponsored the order. “In passing this order, the commission turns the port’s 2030 goal of universal shore power use into a 2027 requirement, which is only possible due to the significant investments made by the cruise industry and the port on both the ships and shoreside facilities. Marketing such investments should also appeal to the environmental interests of travelers who have chosen to cruise to Alaska.”

Port of Seattle photo

“I proudly co-sponsored this order, which highlights our commission’s steadfast focus on advancing shore power – a critical strategy for slashing emissions in the maritime sector. Given our sustained investments in shore power, we must ensure that home-ported vessels plug in when they are berthed at our piers,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Hamdi Mohamed. “This order is a robust policy that demonstrates our commitment to accountability and oversight of this sustainability strategy.”

Plugging into shore power reduces diesel emissions from cruise vessels at berth by 80 percent on average. During the 2023 season, cruise ships using shore power avoided emitting 2,700 metric tons of greenhouse gases and 0.75 metric tons of diesel particulate matter – the equivalent of nearly 650 passenger cars driving for a year.

The port is finalizing the electrification of Pier 66 and plans to connect cruise ships to shore power there this summer. This milestone will make shore power available at all three Seattle cruise berths, which will achieve the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy goal to electrify all cruise berths by 2030, six years early. It will make Seattle one of the first cruise ports to offer shore power at all of its multiple berths.

In 2004, the Port of Seattle, through investments by Carnival Corp., became the first home port in North America to offer shore power at two cruise berths. Carnival and other cruise operators continue to utilize those infrastructure investments, with 66 percent of cruise calls equipped to plug in.

The port also continues to work in partnership with cruise ports in Alaska, Victoria, British Columbia, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and the cruise industry to explore the world’s first cruise-focused Green Corridor from Seattle to Alaska, using innovative decarbonization strategies.

– Port of Seattle

By Rich Miller