Edinburgh's Port of Leith becomes first major Scottish port to let ships plug into mains power
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Leith has become the first large commercial port on mainland Scotland to provide a zero-emissions, on-shore power supply for visiting ships. And the MS Victoria, currently being used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees, is the first vessel to plug into the new supply.
By switching to shore power, the Victoria, berthed in the Imperial Dock, is now able to switch off all its fossil fuel powered generators, and instead use Forth Ports’ electricity which comes from non-fossil fuel generation. Forth Ports said the move was “a significant step forward on the journey to net zero” for the port and reflected the company’s commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint and those of its customers.
The electrical network in the port has been extended and integrated to the MS Victoria’s systems though a shore power transformer. The set-up is being expanded later this month to the port’s Harbour Berth, where it will be offered to offshore construction vessels which use Leith as their home port. The Port of Leith is currently undergoing a major transformation to create Scotland’s largest renewable hub, including the development of a new deep-water outer berth which will also be shore power enabled.
David Webster, director of energy at Forth Ports, said: “As a business we are committed to reducing the emissions from our operations and we are encouraging shipping to do the same. This major civil engineering project to introduce shore power in Leith is a significant milestone for our business in Scotland and we are pleased that the Victoria is now powered by mains electricity. We look forward to offering shore power to our other vessels visiting the port in 2023.”
Neil Gray, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, who has responsibility for refugees from Ukraine, welcomed the development. He said: “Scotland has legislated for some of the world’s most ambitious climate change targets and we will be a net-zero nation by 2045. This is a great example of business taking action that will benefit us all. We’re grateful for the work undertaken by Forth Ports to make this happen. The MS Victoria is providing safe accommodation for displaced people from Ukraine and it’s an added bonus that it is now powered by mains electricity.”