The first international forum on eco-sustainable technologies and solutions for ports was held at Venice's Passenger Terminal Conference Centre on Feb. 4 and 5.  Entitled "Energy for Green Ports", the conference, organized by VTP Events constituted a groundbreaking event in Italy for the topics under discussion.

For two days the summit brought together the worlds of university researchers, institutions and private companies to discuss the technological opportunities offered by today's market in the light of recent developments in legislation and standards.

Roberto Perocchio, Managing Director of VTP Events, had this to say: “The event brought out how there has been a big growth in levels of technical and economic awareness among port operators in Italy regarding the viability of introducing renewable energy in the Italy's vast passenger and commercial ports. All those attending were able to appreciate just how fast the costs and technologies are evolving – and how the time is already ripe for periodical meetings to update us all. So that the best opportunities that the market offers may be captured”.

A keynote speech, arousing much interest among the participants, was given by British Ambassador, Edward Chaplin who illustrated the innovations as they have been applied around some of the UK’s ports and underlined the importance of a joint European policy in the energy sector in the area of port management. The topic was then addressed in more depth on the conference's second day by the Chair of Liverpool's Superport Committee, Frank Robotham, who ran through some practical examples of energy projects currently under way in the UK.  Chaplin highlighted that this area already amounts to a significant economic scenario, the market potential of which is estimated at over £1 billion by 2020 for the British port industry alone.

On the second day, a round table was held, tackling the topic of setting up a panel for a national Ecoports programme. The need emerged for a standing committee to be set up, among
representatives from port organizations and other competent bodies, to maintain a constant flow of information on the best choices to take in modernizing the sector under the viewpoint of energy. In particular, Italy's tourist ports association (Assomarinas) made it clear how the intense design work on new tourist ports planned by large companies and local institutions should be continued for the thousands of hectares of new equipped coastal areas being created, and how such areas must be able to tap all the new renewable technologies right from the beginning.

Many of the sector's leading companies chose the Energy for Green Ports event as the ideal venue for showcasing their new products and solutions. Among these was VTP Engineering - a division of Venezia Terminal Passeggeri and the result of a partnership with Abacoingegneria Treviso Srl. VTP Engineering presented its new mobile passenger tower boarding system - an exciting evolution over the market's current systems - together with cogeneration technologies, in co-operation with Rolls Royce, for producing electricity and heating from vegetable combustibles that exploit 80 percent of the energy available.

Among the collateral events staged during the conference's opening phase was the prize-giving ceremony of Venice Blue Flag, an initiative organized in conjunction with the Venice City Council, the Coast Guard, Venezia Terminal Passeggeri and the Venice Port Authority, which amounts to a voluntary agreement among shipping companies regarding the use of clean fuels to reduce emissions fumes from vessels that transit and dock in the lagoon. This agreement is a step ahead of current international standards and positions Venice as a leading port in eco-sustainability and environmental protection.

The next edition of Energy for Green Ports will be held in February 2011.

Energy for Green Ports, enjoys the patronage of: Italy's Ministry for the Environment and for the Protection of the Land and Sea, the Venice Port Authority, the Veneto Regional Administration, the Province of Venice, Venice City Council, Ca' Foscari University, Assoporti (association of Italian ports), Assiterminal (association of Italian Port Terminal operators), Confitarma (confederation of Italian ship-owners), Assomarinas (association of Italian tourist ports) and Assonautica (association of Italian pleasure sailing), MedCruise (association of Mediterranean cruise ports), RINA (Italian naval registry) and Kyoto Club.

Event sponsors were: Veneto Banca, ABB S.p.A. Power Systems Division, Gruppo Sapio, Consorzio Venezia Nuova and Venezia Terminal Passeggeri.