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First cargo ship in Pacific Northwest plugs into shore power at Port of Tacoma

Supported by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE) cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal.

The $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% 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 of Tacoma 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.

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.

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 half 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% 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.


Henry Gibson

It might have been cheaper just to burn natural gas, but this is certainly a good form of plug in hybrid.

Now what about the DLM hot steam storage car for cheap trips to the school and store. A free piston JUNKERS air compressor needs to be reinvented, and this vehicle can run on compressed air when the steam runs out for as many miles as needed. ..HG..

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