Pioneering power at Kristiansand

Power ashored: Mathias Bernander, chief marketing officer (left) and Trond Sikveland, real estate manager, Port of Kristiansand Power ashored: Mathias Bernander, chief marketing officer (left) and Trond Sikveland, real estate manager, Port of Kristiansand

After substantial investments in recent years, the Norwegian port of Kristiansand is at the cutting edge of shore power, writes Charlie Bartlett.

With an abundant supply of cheap hydroelectric energy with an almost negligible carbon content, many Norwegian ports have taken to supplying shore power for vessels docked at the ports, saving emissions of carbon, and offering owners easy compliance with the stringent sulphur and NOx restrictions that predominate in the North and Baltic Seas.

But the Port of Kristiansand in particular, on Norway’s southern coast, is a shore power dream. Visited by Color Line and Fjordlines which carry passengers to and from the Danish port of Hirtshals, the port boasts the closest proximity in Norway to North European ports like Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Bremerhaven, as well as links to Quebec, St. Petersburg, and Newcastle. “We have a central place in the international transport corridors,” explains Mathias Bernander, Chief Marketing Officer. “We think of ourselves as a national transport hub – we are the closest port to the continent—we are a natural gateway to Europe.”

Of course, not every vessel on these routes will be capable of plugging in. But that hasn’t stopped Kristiansand doubling down on the technology. In 2014, Color Line bought an 11,000 volt automatic docking shore power system, designed by ABB, which would supply 2500kW each time one of ferries Superspeed 1 or 2 docked there. The system supplied these ferries with 2.8m kWh of Norwegian hydroelectric power annually in 2016 and 2017, saving of 2300 tons of CO2 on Superspeed 1, as well as 34 tons of NOx and 2 tons of SOx.

“The system is small, but very high voltage,” says Trond Sikveland, Real Estate Manager. “The project manager told me they don’t need more than five minutes to plug it in. The thing about high voltage is that you don’t need very thick cables to transport energy quickly and cheaply.

“Hurtigruten have indicated they want to use the same system as well, because it is fast, simple and safe. If it turns out they want to use the same system, we will do the same thing as with Color Line – get them talking with a local supplier and they can reach an agreement.

“It’s easier with a ferry—they can send the costs directly to the ferry company. It’s not so easy with ships coming from all over the world.”

Offshore support

Following the Color Line agreement, Kristiansand moved to provide support for the offshore industry. Another system, a fully mobile containerised shore power system mounted on the back of a truck, was delivered by Processkontroll Elektriska AB in Q3 2015 following a tendering competition. The system could be used to supply offshore vessels with 200kVA. This was soon joined by a rented system, capable of 1000 kVA, from provider SEC AS. “Our strategy is to move the shore power to where the ship is, so we don’t have to tell the vessel to dock in a specific place,” says Sikveland. “We just put up supply and cabinets to plug into, and we move the containers with the shore power systems.”

Now, a new system has been installed at the port, delivering up to 16 MVA electrical energy, in accordance with international high voltage IEC 80005-1 standard. Co-financed by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, and costing EUR4m, it is the largest in Norway, explains Sikveland. “Powercon is the developer, they’re a Danish company. The only thing we had to commit to was sign that we owned it, and supply the infrastructure—so, the cabling and pipework. They started manufacturing it in May and went very fast since then.”

Comprising eight 20ft containers’ worth of transformers, cooling systems, and converters, the system has been placed with container vessels in mind, but the inaugural connection was made on a cruise vessel. “We used it on Regal Princess,” explains Sikveland. “We supplied 8.2MW. That was the first connection and the test of the system.”

Despite its 1280sq ft footprint, the system can be moved to a new location if necessary—essential, as the port is planning to relocate its container operations imminently. “As with many ports there is pressure to move activities out of the city centre,” says Bernander. “We will be moving the container terminal Northward, close to the airport. We’re saying 10-15 years, but the vast majority of government officials are in favour of moving the terminal, so once it’s agreed upon, we can move pretty fast.”

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