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Ports can be front runners of energy transition

Ports can be front runners of energy transition
Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL - Energy

Ports could play a pivotal role in the world’s decarbonisation as total electricity generating capacity for industrial ports could increase more than tenfold by 2050, a study by DNV GL has found.

Despite industrial production increasing almost 60% and cargo throughput growing 30% by 2050, energy efficiency measures and electrification could more than compensate for the growth in port activities, both in energy use and CO2 measures.

However the report, made with input from the sector association for the European electric industry Eurelectric, noted that 10 green transitions will need to be made in and around ports for this to be realised.

These include electrification of port-related activities and industry, fuel switch for maritime transport, integration of offshore wind, energy system integration, hydrogen as a feedstock and energy vector, the phase out of fossil-fuelled power plants, carbon capture and storage, a circular and bio-based economy and new regulations.

Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL – Energy, added: “The global challenges of climate change, environmental degradation and pollution require decarbonisation of all industry sectors.

“At the intersection of land and sea where many industry sectors are coming together, ports can play a pivotal role and be a blueprint for the rest of society.”

Engel added that governments need to incentivise port authorities and energy players to facilitate the development of energy infrastructure across multiple energy carriers in ports.

Without the green transitions, smaller transport ports will significantly increase energy use and CO2 emissions but with efficiency measures and electrifications that could more than half the total energy consumption.

Today transport accounts for one-third of the overall CO2 emissions, with water transport making up 14%.

It is estimated that due to the CO2 targets imposed on vehicles the relative contribution of water transport will increase significantly if not tackled in time.

Electricity use will increase almost fivefold, the report noted, and ion absolute terms electricity will be almost on par with fuel oil consumption.

Kristian Ruby, secretary general of Eurelectric, said: “The energy transition holds a huge potential for European ports.

“Offshore renewable energy will be a major driver of business and employment and by electrifying operations, ports can drastically reduce both air pollution and carbon emissions.”