Expanding its commitment to reduce air emissions, Princess Cruises has announced it will turn off its ships' engines and instead use clean hydroelectric power supplied from ashore when calling at the Port of Vancouver during the upcoming 2009 summer cruise season.
 
The innovative technology is being made possible through a partnership with several Canadian project partners and sister company Holland America Line.
 
Princess will use hydroelectric power from the city's grid instead of the ships' diesel-powered engines to run all onboard services for its four ships docking at the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal during day-long turnaround calls. The new shore power installation is the very first use of this technology in Canada and is the result of a $9 million cooperative partnership among Port Metro Vancouver, Transport Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation, British Columbia Hydro, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.
 
Princess' shore power program made history when it first began operations in Juneau, Alaska in the summer of 2001.  It expanded to Seattle in summer 2005 and is planned to roll out in other ports that have made commitments to the technology, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Currently nine of the line's ships are outfitted with the capability to "plug in" to a shoreside power source.
 
"We're very pleased to have worked with Holland America and our Canadian partners to make shore power a reality in Vancouver," said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours. "We know that local air quality issues are important to the community and we applaud all who have been involved in this important environmental initiative."
 
Four Princess ships will use shore power in Vancouver during the 2009 Alaska season. The vessels - Coral Princess, Diamond Princess, Island Princess and Sapphire Princess - will call in Vancouver 36 times between May 16 and September 7, 2009 as they sail on seven-day Gulf of Alaska cruises. Approximately 35 metric tons of turbine engine fuel will be eliminated per ship call by connecting to shore power, for an estimated reduction of 1,260 metric tons of fuel over the summer season.
 
"By shutting off our ships' engines when in Vancouver, we're reducing our usage of fuel and therefore also the emissions that are produced as a result," said Ball. "This is an exciting program for Vancouver and Princess is proud to play a part."
 
To create this unique power system, Princess outfitted nine of its ships with custom-built, state-of-the-art connection cabinets that connect the ship's electrical network to the local electrical system ashore. Since 2001, Princess has invested nearly $7 million in equipment alone to enable its vessels to connect to shore power. The ships currently equipped with this technology include:
• Coral Princess
• Dawn Princess
• Diamond Princess
• Golden Princess
• Island Princess
• Sapphire Princess
• Sea Princess
• Star Princess
• Sun Princess
 
Also known as "cold ironing," shore power uses electrical power transmitted from a landside transformer to the vessel via four 3½-inch diameter flexible electrical cables. The actual cable connection on a vessel is a traditional, though quite large, male/female plug and socket. The length of time needed to connect a ship to shore power and shut down the vessel’s diesel generator is approximately 40 minutes. Once connected, the ship's engines are powered down and, simultaneously, the necessary amount of power, provided by BC Hydro, will be used to run the ship's services while in port.
 
"We're looking forward to sharing the expertise we've gained in developing shore power in other ports to contribute to the success of the program in Vancouver," said Ball. "When we first launched shore power nearly eight years ago, there were challenges because it was the first of its kind and there was no existing blueprint. But now, our successful track record has helped guide this project and we're thrilled to see it get underway for the upcoming cruise season.