Expert Voices: Kevin Maggay, Energy and Technology, Port of Los Angeles

At the Port of Los Angeles, energy demand is expected to triple or even quadruple in the upcoming years. The current peak demand of approximately 40 to 60 megawatts may go up to over 180 megawatts because of increases in imported goods, technologies like cold-ironing (when a vessel plugs into shore for power), automated terminals, and the use of electric equipment.

Paradoxically, the increase in energy demand is a welcome change since it results from the reduced use of fossil fuels, namely diesel, to run equipment. The Port has made considerable efforts to reduce diesel emissions to mitigate health risks and improve local air quality for the adjacent residential communities. However, as the dependence on grid energy increases, the Port needs to be prepared to supply adequate power and reduce the Port’s vulnerability in natural or man-made events.

On June 3, 2013, the Port in partnership with its utility provider, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and others (Port of Long Beach, Southern California Edison, Aquamarine Institute) put on an energy workshop for terminal operators. The workshop was kicked off by Long Beach Mayor, and former utility executive Bob Foster; followed by remarks from then Deputy Mayor for Environment for the City of Los Angeles Romel Pascual; and a presentation by JR DeShazo, Director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, who provided a high-level overview of port energy use. The Luskin Center research showed the potential impact of a number of different energy efficiency measures: for example, electricity costs throughout the San Pedro Bay Ports likely total at least US$50 million a year, however more energy efficient lighting alone could save US$8 million a year.

The presentation was followed by panel discussions featuring port, utility and terminal representatives. The panels covered a range of energy-related topics including current and future needs, near- and long-term challenges, potential collaboration, and next steps.

At the workshop, the Port of Los Angeles announced the development of its Energy Management Action Plan, or E-MAP. The E-MAP will be prepared in collaboration with LADWP, and will serve as a blueprint to identify, develop, and implement programs to improve energy efficiency, reliability, quality, cost and security. The E-MAP will help the Port keep up with its growing power needs, improve its overall power profile and provide the best possible service to its customers. The E-MAP will include port-specific energy assessments with LADWP. 

This complex-wide assessment will be the largest ever of its kind and will serve as a model for ports around the world. 

The Port, along with the Port of Long Beach, is also developing a Technology Advancement Program focused on energy. This program will help to fund the testing of new emerging energy technologies to give users more “tools in the toolbox” to become more energy efficient.

The Port has been and will always strive to be a good steward of the environment. These initiatives will result in significant reductions in diesel pollutants (diesel particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides) and greenhouse gas emissions. But investing in energy will have more than environmental benefits: securing our energy sources will increase the Port’s ability to operate when grid power is interrupted; becoming more energy efficient helps to reduce costs, which makes the Port more competitive; and, finally, implementing new technologies creates jobs.

The Port is very committed to its energy initiatives. While the June 3rd workshop and the development of the E-MAP are the first steps, expect much more energy news to come from the Port of Los Angeles!

This post will be of particular interest to the more than 20 cities in the C40 network that are home to ports, four of which are in the top 10 worldwide in terms of shipping volume. With ports a major source of global GHG emissions and a key driver of local air quality, C40 has been engaged in ports efforts since the 2008 signing of the C40 World Ports Climate Declaration.