Ports can become renewable energy hubs, increasing their electricity generating capacity more than tenfold in the next 30 years, thanks to factors such as offshore wind and hydrogen, a new study from class society DNV GL claims.
At least 70% of exported electricity in ports could come from renewable energy versus only 5% today, the study suggests.
The report, made with input from Eurelectric, the sector association for the European electricity industry, also reveals that despite industrial production increasing almost 60% and cargo throughput growing 30% by 2050, energy efficiency measures and electrification could more than compensate for the growth in port activities, both in energy use and CO2 emissions.
Additionally, the carbon intensity for port side energy use will almost halve.
Regardless of size or function, the importance of ports in the wider decarbonisation agenda is set to grow. Today transport accounts for one-third of the overall EU CO2 emissions, with water transport making up 14%. It is estimated that due to CO2 targets imposed on vehicles, the relative contribution of water transport will increase significantly if emissions from water navigation are not tackled in time.
At the intersection of land and sea where many industry sectors are coming together, ports can play a pivotal role and be a blueprint for the rest of society
Kristian Ruby, secretary general of Eurelectric, commented: “The energy transition holds a huge potential for European ports. Offshore renewable energy will be a major driver of business and employment. And by electrifying operations, ports can drastically reduce both air pollution and carbon emissions.”
Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL – Energy, added: “The global challenges of climate change, environmental degradation and pollution require decarbonisation of all industry sectors. At the intersection of land and sea where many industry sectors are coming together, ports can play a pivotal role and be a blueprint for the rest of society. Governments need to incentivise port authorities and energy players to facilitate the development of energy infrastructure across multiple energy carriers in ports. First movers and those who manage to cooperate should be rewarded by relevant government policies. Fast action is needed to secure a more sustainable future.”