The parties inked a non-binding memorandum of understanding outlining their intention to develop a project timeline and specifications, as well as cost estimates and proposed agreements for a shore power system.
'As a Green Marine-certified port, we recognize shore power as an opportunity to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases associated with maritime activities,' Galveston Port Director/CEO Rodger Rees said.
'This project working group is our dream team,' he continued. 'It’s a winning combination with energy infrastructure expertise from Shell and CenterPoint Energy, the experience of major cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and the educational and research resources of Texas A&M-Galveston.'
Royal Caribbean's new terminal
Royal Caribbean Group is outfitting its new Galveston cruise terminal for when shore power becomes available for the Oasis-class Allure of the Seas. The ship will homeport at the new terminal opening Nov. 9.
'We are in lock-step with Galveston Wharves’ vision for sustainable cruising,' said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. 'Our Galveston cruise terminal is built with sustainability top-of-mind and will operate using 100% renewable, onsite energy. This step toward shore power at the Port of Galveston extends our efforts and our collective goal of a clean energy future.'
Carnival commits to shore-power-ready ships at Galveston
Carnival Cruise Line, which homeports year-round in Galveston, also has pledged that any of its ships regularly assigned to homeport at Galveston will be capable of connecting to shore power once it is available.
The new Carnival Jubilee, scheduled to begin sailing from Galveston in 2023, will be shore-power ready. It also will become Galveston's first homeported LNG-powered cruise ship.
'... We could not think of a better time to work with the Galveston Wharves and our other partners to bring shore power closer to reality,' Carnival President Christine Duffy said. 'We are fully committed to a successful shore power program, as it is in line with our top priorities of compliance and environmental protection, as well as the health, safety and well-being of our guests, employees and the people in the communities we touch and serve.'
Glenn Wright, SVP renewables & energy solutions, Shell Energy, said, 'The world is working toward a more sustainable energy future in many areas, and Shell is proud to be a leader in delivering integrated decarbonization solutions to help achieve those objectives. Integrating shore power into port infrastructure is a perfect example of this, and we’re excited to work with such a diverse and dedicated group to support the Galveston Wharves as it builds upon its existing sustainability program.'
Shore power study for cargo ships
Rees said the port has seen growing interest shore power. The Galveston Campus of Texas A&M University is conducting a study of shore power for cargo ships to help determine possibilities for the port to provide that service.
'Driving discovery is key to supporting the blue economy for the Gulf Coast region and beyond,” said Col. Michael E. Fossum, VP of Texas A&M, chief operating officer of the Galveston Campus and superintendent for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. 'Partnering with the Port of Galveston, which is our campus’ backyard and an employer of our graduates, aligns perfectly with our mission to educate, innovate and create real industry solutions to advance our economy.'
Galveston is a top 50 US cargo port and the fourth busiest US cruise port. It had almost 1,000 ship calls in 2021. Through Green Marine, a voluntary environmental program for North America’s maritime industry, the port is researching and implementing new programs like shore power for environmental benefits.