green and sustainable business

PNW Trifecta: Shore power at Tacoma, FAA grant for Sea-Tac, EPA award for Portland

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It was a very good week indeed for green and Pacific Northwest—the PNW’s first cargo ship plugged into shore power at the Port of Tacoma, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport received an $18 million environmental grant and the Port of Portland received a 2010 Green Power Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here’s the run-down:

– State, federal and Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express officials flipped the switch on October 27 on the Pacific Northwest’s first cargo ship to run on dockside shore power.

Helped by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two TOTE cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal. Also known as cold ironing, it’s a great way to reduce air-polluting diesel emissions, but has been slow to catch on. Passenger vessels at the Port of Seattle have had the shore power option for several years.

Tacoma port officials said the $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during TOTE’s 100 ship calls each year in Tacoma. That equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, contributed about $1.2 million to retrofit the two ships to accommodate shore power connections and add some of the terminal infrastructure. The port provided environmental permitting, grant administration and project management.

The EPA grant was provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
(ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program.

“By plugging in, TOTE and the Port of Tacoma are using clean Northwest energy instead of fossil fuels,” said Dennis McLerran, EPA Regional Administrator. “This project has three major benefits: It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creates healthier air and spurs job growth.”

In addition to retrofitting two TOTE ships with certified ship-side technology, this project installed a shore-side connection system and power at the port’s TOTE terminal.

Construction sustained an estimated 50 manufacturing and local installation jobs.

This project supports the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, adopted in early 2008 by the Port and its regional partners, the ports of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., to meet jointly-established short- and long-term clean air goals for ships, cargo-handling equipment, rail, trucks and harbor craft. About one-half of the ships that call frequently at the port already meet the 2010 clean-air goal for ships by using cleaner-burning distillate fuel at berth. TOTE ships, which call twice a week in Tacoma, will boost that number to 64 percent by plugging into the shore power system.

Known as Orca-class vessels, the ships feature state-of-the-art redundant propulsion and steering systems that exceed state and federal environmental regulations, earning TOTE numerous awards in recognition of outstanding environmental achievement.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the award of its largest Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) grant for an $18.3 million project at Sea-Tac airport, designed to improve air quality and to reduce the use of conventional fuels at the airport.

With the VALE grant, Sea-Tac will be able to install a centralized preconditioned air plant that will allow aircraft arriving at the gates to shut off their auxiliary power units and connect to a cleaner central heating and cooling system. This project will greatly reduce aircraft emissions on the ground.

“This program is helping airports around the country make needed technological investments so they can be more environmentally friendly,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Since the first VALE grant award in 2005, the FAA has funded 40 projects totaling $83 million dollars.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced the grant during a press conference in Seattle where he highlighted environmental efforts under way at Sea-Tac and by the Alaska Air Group (AAG) as examples of the kind of innovative work being done in the aviation community.

“The FAA is encouraging airlines and airports to find creative ways to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment,” Babbitt said. “NextGen technology will also help aviation go even greener by significantly reducing the amount of fuel burned during air travel.”

Babbitt also discussed an innovative program under way in the Sea-Tac, area known as the Greener Skies over Seattle project. The project began in early 2009 with the Alaska Air Group (AAG), which includes Alaska Airlines and Horizon Airlines, the Port of Seattle and the Boeing Co. The AAG is seeking to improve efficiency at Sea-Tac through expanded use of NextGen satellite-based technologies to provide more direct and optimized descent paths to landing.

The program has the potential to provide environmental benefits to the region through reducing fuel burn, emissions, and the number of people impacted by aircraft noise. In addition, lessons and benefits gained from this effort may be transferred to other airports around the nation. In mid-2010 Greener Skies over Seattle became a FAA project and the first phase of Performance Based Navigation instrument flight procedure development is now under way.

The Port of Portland’s 2010 Green Power Leadership Award from the EPA is given in recognition of the country’s leading green power purchasers for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.

The port was one of 10 organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award in the category of Green Power Purchase. The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through purchases of green power from a utility green-pricing program, a competitive green marketer, or a renewable energy certificate supplier.

The Port of Portland is currently purchasing more than 75 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 100 percent of the organization’s purchased electricity use. The Port is buying a utility green power product and renewable energy certificates from NextEra Energy Resources and Pacific Power, in addition to producing power from on-site installations.

“Purchasing green power is just one of the many ways the port is working to minimize operational impacts on the air, water and land. We have developed a number of aggressive and innovative programs to meet some very ambitious goals and we have met, or are well on our way to meeting, those goals,” said Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt.

The port currently ranks No. 49 on EPA’s National Top 50 list. Each list highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have completed the largest annual voluntary purchases through July 6, 2010. EPA updates its Top Partner Lists quarterly.

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions, while offering a superior environmental profile compared to traditional power generation sources. Green power purchases also support the development of new renewable energy generation sources nationwide.

According to the EPA, the port’s current green power purchase of more than 75 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 10,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power nearly 7,000 average American homes annually.


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    Thanks friend for PNW Trifecta: Shore power at Tacoma, FAA grant for Sea-Tac, EPA …, a great blog post!


    19 September, 2012 at 12:01 pm

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