Port of Seattle Requiring Cruise Ships to be Shore Power Capable by 2027

The Port of Seattle has said that it’s becoming the first port in the U.S. to require shore power usage independent of state regulations, starting with the 2027 season. Photo: Port of Seattle.

When the 2027 cruise season starts, all cruise ships homeported at the Port of Seattle are expected to be fully capable of plugging in to shore power when they are berthed at its piers, the port commission announced June 11.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman, who sponsored the directive, said the approval turns the port’s 2030 goal of universal shore power use into a 2027 requirement, which is possible because of the port’s and cruise industry’s significant investments to ships and shoreside facilities.

“Marketing such investments should also appeal to the environmental interests of travelers who have chosen to cruise to Alaska,” he said.

For example, the port is wrapping up its electrification project at Pier 66, and expects cruise vessels to plug in to shore power there this summer, allowing shore power availability at all three Seattle cruise berths.

According to the port, shore power use by cruise ships lowers diesel emissions by 80% on average. In the 2023 cruise season, cruise ships using shore power were able to avoid discharging 2,700 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 0.75 metric tons of diesel particulate matter. That’s equal to almost 650 passenger cars driving for a year, the port said.

By Karen Robes Meeks