Twelve government-owned major ports in India have moved to renewable energy sources for their power. The twelve ports are Deendayal Port Trust, Mumbai Port Trust, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, New Mangalore Port Trust, Mormugao Port Trust, Cochin Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, VO Chidambaranar Port Trust, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradip Port Trust, Kolkata Port Trust, and Kamarajar Port Ltd. This landmark move makes India the first country to have all state-owned ports powered by solar and wind energy.

Following the directive issued under the Shipping Ministry’s green initiative, the ports had to install grid-connected and roof-top solar and wind power projects to run the day-to-day operations, including supplying shore-power to visiting ships in an eco-friendly manner.

Also called cold ironing or alternative maritime power, shore power allows docked ships to work their electrical systems using shore-side power and to switch off their auxiliary engines. Shore power works in reducing emissions and cutting operational costs for shipping companies. It also allows shipping companies to meet emission targets, especially those related to emission control areas.

The emissions from ships at berth are estimated to be ten times more than the port’s operations. Ships consume a large amount of power even though they are not propelling, and running the fuel-powered generators result in noise pollution and emissions. The shore-side power supply is environment-friendly, and all the major Indian ports have developed the necessary infrastructure to power all types of vessels when they are berthed at these ports.

Renewable energy also enables ports to bring down their energy costs, thereby bringing down operational costs, finally lowering shipping and cargo levies. India’s maritime governing body has framed the operating procedures (SOP) for shore electric power supply to ships in Indian ports that presently cover only a low power supply – up to 150 kW at low voltage. However, they will issue the new SOP when the high voltage supply is ready at the ports.