Princess Cruises made history when it introduced its shore power program in partnership with the City and Borough of Juneau and Alaska Electric Light and Power Company in 2001.
Now, the cruise line is celebrating 20 years of shore power at the port, where ships arrive at the Franklin Dock and continue to plug into local surplus hydroelectric power and turn off their diesel engines.
The 20th-anniversary milestone was recognized as Majestic Princess made her maiden call to Juneau and connected to the electrical grid. Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz, Majestic Princess Captain Dino Sagani, Alaska Electric Light and Power Company President and General Manager Connie Hulbert, Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon, and City Manager Rorie Watt were in attendance.
“Shore power in Juneau has been a significant win-win situation, not only for Princess but also for the customers of Alaska Electric Light and Power Company and the residents of the City and Borough of Juneau who have been incredible partners over the last 20 years,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Our beneficial collaboration has paved the way for the cruise industry to reduce air emissions and allow cruise ships to ‘plug in.’”
In addition to this investment, for the past 20 years every dollar spent by Princess for purchasing electrical energy in Juneau has been credited to a cost of power adjustment, or COPA account. The credit is used to offset diesel expenses in the next quarter, and extra funds go back to Juneau residents and businesses in the form of a rebate on electric bills. To date, this has benefitted the community by $8.5 million.
“The implementation of shore power in Juneau 20 years ago was a truly remarkable accomplishment and this first-of-its-kind program became a reality in our capital city through our partnership with Princess,” said Connie Hulbert, Alaska Electric, Light and Power Company president and general manager.
“We are proud that our remote city, with our own isolated electric grid, is the first place in the world to use this innovative technology for passenger vessels, which has provided economic and environmental benefits to the community of Juneau.”
The specialized shoreside equipment to allow a ship to “plug in” includes a specially designed transformer and a sophisticated system of cables, circuit breakers, and control circuits. The shore-based electricity runs all onboard services during the day-long calls.
Princess has outfitted all 14 of its ships with custom-built hardware and automation that automatically connects the ship’s electrical network with the local one ashore. Each year, Princess ships plug in more than 300 shore power connections.
The technology has grown, and is now used by multiple cruise lines in port cities including Seattle, Vancouver, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Halifax, Shanghai, and Kristiansand.