Juneau considers upgrading cruise ship power supply at docks
Juneau officials are exploring the idea of expanding port infrastructure to allow more cruises ships to connect to the local electrical grid as a way to cut down on dock-side emissions.
Princess Cruises has been connecting to shore power at a city dock since 2001, paying the local utility about $1 million each summer for the hook-up, the Juneau Empire reported.
But that’s the only dock in Juneau that’s capable of supplying power.
That infrastructure would be expanded under a proposal submitted this year by the Juneau Commission on Sustainability.
The commission recommends using $3.5 million from the city’s marine passenger fee from a $5 head tax on cruise ship passengers.
In a separate recommendation, City Manager Rorie Watt calls for using $250,000 from the fees to further study the idea.
With dockside connections to renewable hydroelectric power, cruise ships can turn off their engines, cutting down on emissions from burning diesel fuel.
But building the required infrastructure is costly. Plus, the cruise season lasts for just about four months.
According to a 2016 feasibility study, building a new facility supplying power to just one dock would cost nearly $13 million.
The Juneau Assembly reviewed Watt’s proposal last week, but took no action.
Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale said there will be public ample opportunity for public input on the issue this spring.