Ports can play a pivotal role in the world's decarbonisation challenge but only if 10 'Green Transitions' are made in and around ports, a new study has found.


By 2050, the total electricity generating capacity for' industrial ports' could increase more than tenfold thanks to factors including offshore wind and hydrogen. Renewable energy could account for at least 70% of the total electricity generation, compared to just 5% today, said DNV GL’s study.

However, 'Ports: Green gateways to Europe - 10 Transitions to turn ports into decarbonization hubs' said that to realise the potential of ports, key 'Green Transitions' must be made. These are: electrification of port-related activities; fuel switch for maritime transport; electrification of industry; integration of offshore wind; energy system integration; hydrogen as a feedstock and energy vector; phase-out of fossil-fuelled power plants; carbon capture and storage; new regulations; and a circular and bio-based economy.

Offshore wind hub

The study reveals that the expected deployment of offshore wind and the required grid enforcements to realise their connection will lead to an advantageous position for large industrial ports as a hub for renewable energy generation.

Made with input from Eurelectric, the study also reveals that despite industrial production increasing almost 60% and cargo throughput growing 30% by 2050, energy efficiency measures and electrification could more than compensate for the growth in port activities, both in energy use and CO2 emissions. Additionally, the carbon intensity for port side energy use will almost halve.

'Transport Ports'

The report also analysed smaller 'transport ports'. The findings show that without the Green Transitions, the ports energy use and CO­2 emissions will increase significantly, but that efficiency measures and electrification could more than half the total energy consumption. Electricity use will increase almost fivefold and in absolute terms, electricity will be almost on par with fuel oil consumption.

Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL – Energy, stated: "Governments need to incentivise port authorities and energy players to facilitate the development of energy infrastructure across multiple energy carriers in ports."

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