European environmental legislation towards becoming climate neutral by 2050, is summarized under the newly established European Green Deal (December 2019), which is considered as the EU roadmap to climate neutrality, by boosting the economy and creating sustainable industry and transport through green technology and cutting pollution measures.
On December 11th, 2020, European leaders introduced “fit for 55” action package in order to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 “, replacing the EU target to reduce emissions by 40% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030 (European Environment Agency).
Areas not covered by the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) – such as transport, agriculture, infrastructure and waste management – still account for around 60% of total EU emissions. ETS sectors will be reduced by 30% by 2030 compared to 2005 rates.
Regarding transport sector, it is considered to be responsible for about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, contributing as a main cause for air pollution in cities.
Regarding maritime transport, greenhouse gas emissions from shipping are considered as very important part of the whole transport sector as they are almost double those of aviation. Many researches have been done in the last decade with the aim of limiting them. The reduction of gaseous emissions of ships during their mooring is of increasing interest. During the stay of the ships in the ports, CO2, SOx and NOx gaseous pollutants are released, as well as suspended particles.
According to the international guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), only emissions from ships traveling between two countries are the responsibility of the IMO. When any ship travels between two ports in the same country, emissions are the responsibility of that country. It is therefore recommended that CO2 reduction policies focus on existing ships, rather than relying solely on new, more efficient vessels to achieve the necessary carbon reductions. The most effective ways in which ships can reduce their emissions involve the installation of new renewable rotor technologies, the connection to the electricity grid during their stay in ports and the modification of other energy saving measures.
Regarding the approached alongside and moored ships during their stay in the port, they use their auxiliary engines in order to supply the necessary cargoes for the operation of the individual E/M installations. These loads are usually lighting, air conditioning as well as machine loads for loading and unloading operations. The supply of ships during their mooring, with electricity from the electrical installation of the port has prevailed internationally as a practice with the term “cold ironing”, or “shore connection”, “shore-to-ship power (SSP)” or “alternative maritime power (AMP)”.
Upgrading the environmental footprint for the port of Heraklion will be very important bearing also in mind that the electrical interconnection of Crete with the mainland grid is in progress (the first phase of interconnection of Crete with the Peloponnese, will be put into operation in 2021, while with the second phase in 2023 it will be able to transfer from and to Crete up to 1000MW of electricity).
The completion of the electrical interconnection of Crete with the inland grid will provide the capability of “green” electricity for the entire island of Crete. The energy mixture per production technology for the inland electricity system is already considered compatible with the environmental objectives of the European Union, as for 2020 the production from Natural Gas reached 35%, the production from RES reached 29%, the production from Hydroelectric power stations reached 6% with production from polluting lignite plants declining to 11%.
Therefore, the installation of cold ironing in the port of Heraklion, and regardless of the origin of the supplied electricity (from Crete or mainland Greece), will mean an extremely large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Therefore, it will be in line with the guidelines for the development of the TEN transport.
In addition to the environmental aims, the installation of cold ironing can become a financially viable investment, subject to the CBA that will be conducted. Providing electricity to the approached vessels will eventually balance the equity to be invested in the cold ironing process. Apart from the financial surplus, the social surplus is expected to become significant, since the elimination of the harmful gases and substances in the surrounding port – city, will provide better living conditions, increase in the values invested in the city, as well as increase in the incoming traffic flows.
Investment in cold ironing may become a long-term investment for the Port of Heraklion and the consortium, since the know-how that will be developed throughout the study and implementation phase will be exchanged in other Ports either in Greece, or abroad.
Lastly, if cold ironing is designed as a hybrid system (combined energy supply with RES and conventional energy sources), the economic and environmental benefits can be maximized for the whole area of Crete. The island of Crete, due to its location, is the most ideal place in Greece for the installation of RES production stations.