Port of Barcelona injects €110 million into electrification

2018 June 5. Spain. Barcelona. A huge number of containers with goods have accumulated that have arrived or are leaving the city, a lot of trucks and cranes that load all this stuff onto bulk carriers.

The Port of Barcelona is set to invest €110 million ($123 million) into its Nexigen project to decarbonise port activity and improve air quality.

A total of €90 million ($100 million) of the funds will go towards onshore power supply (OPS) systems to connect ships to the general electricity grid while they are berthed, using clean energy that is 100 per cent renewable.

The remaining €20 million ($22 million) will be used to roll out the network that includes the Port Substation, the high-voltage connection to Red Eléctrica’s Ronda Litoral Substation, and the roll-out of the medium voltage network throughout the precinct.

This directly aligns with the port’s objective to have electrified all cruise berths, the Prat wharf, and the ferry terminals of the Sant Bertran dock and the Costa wharf by 2030.

This could result in, cutting by 38 per cent the tonnes of NOx and CO2 emitted by ships during their stay at the wharf, and eliminating 22 per cent of NOx and CO2 emissions from all port activity, said Damià Calvet, President of Port of Barcelona.

In the long term, the project will support Barcelona in its aim of becoming climate-neutral by 2050.

© Port of Barcelona

“The remarkable environmental benefits that will derive from the electrification of the docks of the Port of Barcelona make this one of our strategic projects. And that is why the plan has been given its own name: Nexigen,” Calvet said.

The name is a combination of next generation and oxygen, and derives its meaning from the fact that it is a plan “to decarbonise our activity and improve air quality, contributing to the well-being of the next generations. A plan for the future,” he added.

In order to achieve wharf electrification, 240 metres of cable will need to be laid, and 20.5 kilometres of ducts will need to extend to the terminals.

The port has already launched a tender process for a pilot project to supply electricity to container vessels at its Hutchison Ports BEST terminal.

The next steps of the project will involve processing the application for access and connection of a position for a large consumer in Red Eléctrica’s Ronda Litoral Substation, once the planning of the electricity transmission network for the period 2021-2026 has been published.

According to the Port of Barcelona, the connection to the Ronda Litoral Substation will make it possible to roll out a smart flexible medium-voltage network that will distribute electricity from renewable sources to the various wharves.

The OPS will then be installed on each facility with the necessary connection management system for each type of ship.

Ana Arévalo, Energy Transition Manager for the Port of Barcelona, added: “We have perfectly calculated the emissions of the ships during their stay in port, therefore with the Wharf Electrification Plan we will take direct action to eliminate these emissions.”

“With Nexigen we are preparing for the future, and this will allow the Port of Barcelona to be in the first division of the decarbonisation of port, maritime and logistics activity”, concluded the President of the port.

The Port of Barcelona also recently announced its traffic and financial results for 2021.

A total of 3.5 million TEU passed through the port in 2021, demonstrating volume growth of 19.3 per cent over its 2020 figures.

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