Port of Seattle Commissions New Shore Power System

A 2021 map showing the Port of Seattle’s shorepower efforts. Image: Port of Seattle.

The Port of Seattle is installing a third shore power system at Pier 66, making it among the world’s first ports with three shore power systems for cruise ships, officials said in late May.

Shore power technology can significantly reduce emissions and improve air quality by allowing ships to connect to electricity and turn off diesel engines while at the dock. Seattle operates the largest and fastest-growing cruise port on the West Coast with more than 200 vessels in a typical season between April and October.

Adding a third shore power system is a major component of the port’s Waterfront Clean Energy Strategy, which aims to help improve air quality, modernize and optimize grid resources, support green maritime industry investments, increase the resiliency of port infrastructure, and grow employment in electrification, renewable fuels and the clean technology sector.

The contract for the shore power system components was awarded in November 2022 to Kingston, Wash.-based Watts Marine, an innovator and integrator of shore power technology systems. To date, the company has installed shore power systems at ports in Seattle, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Halifax, Vancouver BC and Brooklyn, NY.

An estimated 700 cruise ships connect to Watts Marine’s shoreside electrical power equipment each year, the company has said. 

Each shore power system consists of proprietary equipment developed specifically to serve the cruise ship industry. This includes equipment for dual-voltage electrical service, custom-developed electrical cable handling, and electronic monitoring and control.

The company facilitates every aspect of the shore power process, from helping the marine industry navigate the fine points of regulatory advising through design, build, heavy equipment installation, and system operation and maintenance.

Seattle’s new shore power connection is expected to be fully operational by the 2024 Alaska cruise season, according to Watts Marine.