As the low season arrives, the port's operational needs are fewer, so from tomorrow, 22 November, until 15 March, the Port Authority of the Balearic Islands (APB), in collaboration with Eivissa Tow
The ferries that dock at the Paraires quay or the Commercial quays at the port of Palma will be connected to the on-shore power grid while they are moored at the port in order to reduce the emission of gases and noise generated by them during waiting, disembarkation and embarkation operations. This technique, known as cold ironing, is an alternative way for ships to keep machinery idle and therefore eliminate the impact produced by their noise and pollution.
Following a trial period, in collaboration with Baleària’s Eleanor Roosevelt, the facility will be prepared to connect to the power grid a ferry with a maximum power demand of 1,600 kW (medium voltage) and another fast ferry with 800 kW (low voltage), although not simultaneously. For the on-shore electrical connection, the system has 275 metres of medium voltage underground lines, a transformation centre and a frequency elevating substation in the service area of the port of Palma.
The pilot experience in Palma will later be implemented in the port of Alcúdia (Ponent quays), Ibiza (Botafoc quays) and Maó (Cós Nou). The commissioning of these facilities is planned for the second half of 2024 and will involve an investment of 12.3 million euros.
Support for institutions
In this context, the APB plans to apply jointly with the Port Authority of Barcelona to the call for European CEF-Transport 2022 grants from the Programme to Support Sustainable and Digital Transport in Competitive Concurrence with the OPS4B&B project. Specifically, the plan falls under action line 5, measure 11: Maritime Transport Sustainability. This aid scheme subsidises up to 40% of the total amount of the work.
In this respect, the support of the local institutions has been unanimous: Town councils, island councils and the Government have signed a letter of endorsement that will accompany the initiative, with the conviction that climate neutrality and the desire to make the ports of general interest in the Balearic Islands as environmentally friendly as possible is a common objective.
When in port, ships use their auxiliary engines to produce electricity during loading, unloading and mooring operations. Although the amount of emissions produced during the mooring phase is less than during the maritime traffic phase itself, in this case the pollutants emitted directly affect the air quality of the population centres near the port, as well as the port itself.
The use of electrical energy from the national grid means a reduction in the emissions produced by the ship, as the emission factor per MWh of the grid’s generators is much lower than that of the ship's auxiliary engines.