The ESPO-EFIP study was published, analyzing the implications of the changing energy landscape on Europe’s ports. The aim of the study is to draw a comprehensive picture of the impact of the energy transition on Europe’s ports, in particular in terms of spatial planning and infrastructure needs
Land-use in ports
n the new energy landscape, space in ports will be used differently. As many ports face scarcity of available land, new trade-offs need to be made to prioritise activities in the port and achieve the goals of the port authority and its stakeholders. However, the optimal future spatial allocation of activities is highly complex due to uncertainty and diversity in the technical choices to make.
Independent of the prevailing techniques, conventional fossil energy sources will be replaced by technologies that will require more space (for example due to safety measures related to toxic energy carriers and alternative fuels, the large size of hydrogen production facilities, space for and on-site renewables) and more connectivity (e.g. expanding grid, or capture, conversion, re-use of carbon emissions). This is expected to result in more focus on energy infrastructure in port plans and more centralised energy facilities in the port to optimise scale and synergies between suppliers and users.
Corridors and infrastructure in ports
Dedicated waterway corridors, berths, quays, jetty arms and terminals will be needed to enable supply chains for new types of energy and resources, specific (inland) vessel charging and bunkering of new fuels. For example, there are currently 24 large scale LNG regasification terminals operational in Europe. This number will increase to accommodate growing demand for LNG as a transition fuel in the upcoming decade as well as reduce dependence from Russian pipeline gas.
Electrification in the port
Electrification of port equipment, onshore power supply, transportation within the port and industrial processes demand a secure and safe power network. This means sufficient and reliable power supply, sufficient grid capacity, and charging infrastructure. More advanced power systems will also entail the installation of storage and converters, and potentially facilities which can combine power use with heat. An example is the hydrogen supply chain where production, conversion, and transport infrastructure are needed to convert power to hydrogen.
Inland ports are committed to playing their part in achieving the green energy transition. This study comprehensively maps and identifies the challenges and opportunities that ports will be facing. Such an overview is needed to effectively plan and implement infrastructure, new business models and much more. It will be a corner stone in realising the European green energy and logistics network
commented Antoin Berbain, EFIP President.
Operations and maintenance
A more complex, connected, and decentralised energy system in the port increases the need for Operations and Maintenance (O&M). Factors such as navigation interferences, aviation restrictions, and grid control complicate matters and need to be considered by port management, operators and other stakeholders in the port.
Energy-efficient technology, energy management/mapping systems and renewable energy capacity, all require investments, procurement, installation, operations and maintenance. This means operational control capabilities and energy process expertise have to be available in organisations within the port.
The challenge of parties in the port is to identify the most strategically attractive investments, identify new ways of funding, and develop new business models to create alternative revenue streams. For instance, implementing onshore power based on renewable electricity requires a significant investment that can range from EUR 1-25 million in seaports for the installation of a grid connection, cable to berths, a converter station and onshore power facilities on berth and vessel, depending on the available connections and distances.
The additional challenge is that vessel owners need to invest roughly EUR 0.5 – 1 million as well and need to make an investment trade-off between electrification and alternative fuels that can also be used for sailing. The average investment for inland ports is estimated at EUR 10,000, due to a lower capacity need, no need for converters and presence of on-board receivers. This makes the adoption of onshore power supply on a smaller scale for inland ports easier, especially in combination with smaller size vessels and shorter sailing distances. However, higher electricity prices and low utilisation still hamper current developments.