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Cruise ships may soon be able to plug-in off the coast of the Orkney Islands

Schneider Electric is set to help develop the world’s first offshore cold-ironing buoy to help cruise ships connect to power while at anchorage off the Orkney Islands. This will provide green energy to hybrid cruise ships that cannot dock at Hatston Pier. 

The initiative, led by Orcades Marine Management Consultants, will help to reduce the emissions of cruise ships at the Bay of Kirkwall. By supplying power from renewable sources like wind, solar, and tidal turbines, the project aims to decrease pollution from ships idling offshore, thus enhancing air quality along the coast.

This unique solution addresses the lack of cold-ironing options for ships at anchorage. The project includes a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) and a comprehensive feasibility study funded by over £300,000 from the Department of Transport through its Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

Key stakeholders in the consortium developing the project include the Orkney Island Council Harbour Authority, GAC UK, and environmental consultancy Aquatera, with each contributing expertise in various aspects such as marine engineering, safety, harbour operations, and environmental management.

The Bay of Kirkwall was selected for its popularity among cruise ships and its robust renewable energy output, having produced more than 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources since 2013.

Shaun Faulkner, Seaport Segment Lead at Schneider Electric, stated, “There has been an increasing drive to reduce emissions in the maritime industry in recent years. We are proud to play a part in this move to greener shipping. As an organisation our purpose is to make sustainability accessible to all, and to empower everyone to make the most of our energy and resources. 

“There is an increasingly clear need for cleaner and more sustainable processes and guidance in the ports and maritime industry. This project will be a positive step forward in terms of fulfilling that need and demonstrating what a more sustainable future could look like.”

Captain David Thomson, Managing Director of Orcades Marine, added, “I’m thrilled to announce our successful grant award from the Department of Transport’s CMDC. Our aim is clear – to eliminate carbon emissions from some of the largest ships within port limits. This project marks a significant step towards a cleaner, more sustainable maritime future, and we’re committed to driving innovation and positive change in the industry.”

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