Portsmouth on a rapid path to carbon neutral

Thursday, November 30, 2023 - 12:50 by ce-press

On August 20, after 18 months of construction, Portsmouth International Port welcomed passengers from Saga’s Spirit of Discovery as the first to experience an innovative net carbon neutral terminal extension, made possible through £11.25 million (€12.9 million) of Levelling Up funding to transform the city’s visitor economy.

Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said: ““The quality of the building and the attention to detail that has gone into its development really are second to none, and our guests thoroughly enjoyed the new arrival experience.”

Cutting-edge environmental engineering has resulted in the port becoming the first in the UK to use sea water to heat and cool the building. Other environmental features include wind and solar technology, and internal and external living walls to help purify the air.

All the elements combined means the building will generate more energy than it consumes, eventually moving from net carbon neutral to becoming what’s known as carbon positive.

The new terminal has been built to accommodate a growth which is expected to rise to over 100 cruise calls in 2024. The design features a sky garden which is a public viewing space, a walkway between the existing terminal and an exclusive lounge area for passengers.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, cabinet member responsible for the port at Portsmouth City Council, said: “This new terminal extension is hoped to kick start further investment in the city, from hotel capacity to an increase in tourism spending. The port is integral to Portsmouth and supports our ambitions to become a leading marine and maritime city, providing opportunities for residents and high quality experiences for visitors.”

In addition, the port has been awarded £19.8 million from the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI), funded by the UK Government and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. The grant will allow it to embark on a groundbreaking decarbonisation project with Brittany Ferries, alongside the University of Portsmouth, MSE International, B4T, IOTICS and Swanbarton.

The SEA CHANGE project will design, build and operate a shore power system across the three busiest berths, using green electricity to run the onboard systems of visiting cruiseships and ferries.

Providing shore power will reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality around the port. It is estimated that the system will save over 20,000 tonnes of CO2e per annum from 2027. This is the equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of around 2,500 UK households (source) or making 11,111 round trips by plane from London to New York (source).

Barrett commented: “I’m excited that the port can now forge ahead with this game-changing initiative that will slash carbon emissions and bring real benefits to local communities in Portsmouth. This project reaffirms the city’s commitment to reach net carbon neutral by 2030.”

Stephen Watkyns, technical director Portsmouth International Port, added: “Once delivered, this revolutionary multi-user, multi-berth shore power facility will be a UK first. It means we’ll be able to provide shore power for ships on three of our berths, including providing power for the hybrid Brittany Ferries ships coming in 2025.

Following a major berth extension, coupled with the new terminal, the port is now in a position to handle ships up to 315m in length and the associated passenger capacity these vessels carry.

On November 13 in London, the port’s hard work was recognised at the Wave Awards (also known as the ‘Oscars of Cruising’) as it was presented with, not one but, two awards: Best environmental innovation and Best port.
Portsmouth on a rapid path to carbon neutral
Spirit of Discovering calling Portsmouth (c) Portsmouth International Port and Strong Island Media

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