Lights Out: Ports get in on global fight against climate change while $aving big on operations

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Development Objective 3 - Strengthen sustainable transport and energy security

Pacific Islanders are a people surrounded by vast oceans and seas and it is still the heartbeat of our transportation and trade.

Though the vessels and rules of travel have changed, the sea continues to be the lifeline that connects the region both nationally and internationally. With a continual and growing need for this vital service, there is a growing cost attached to ensuring it meets the necessary safety and security requirements that come close to meeting international standards and protecting the integrity of this lifeline. In this global chain, maritime ports play an essential role as a port is an open gate to access global trading and is the place where taxes on import and other duties are collected. Port development is therefore an essential process for any country wishing to support their economic development but such a development needs to look into crosscutting themes such as energy efficiency and sustainability; climate change threats and disaster risk management and resilience as well as environmental impact. Recognising a need to address these national, regional and international interests, SPC has begun work to provide technical advice and assistance in the region to take on a more proactive approach to addressing these through its Green Pacific Port initiative. While there are a number of activities under this initiative to create the enabling environment for improved port operational efficiency, improved energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact, SPC decided to assist some ports in the region to lead by example and undertake an energy audit and engage in energy management and energy savings. Leading by example as proof-of-concept approach to show ports can contribute to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The cost to run a port in the Pacific is exponential but necessary in order to ensure continued access for the regions people to much needed supplies from and for outer islands within a country as well as across borders. In the Solomon Islands, a recent audit commissioned with the assistance of SPC found that the Solomon Island Ports in Honiara consumed 800,000 kWh of electricity, 250,000 litres of diesel and 12,000 litres of petrol annually over 2016/17, which correspond to 1,400 tonnes of GHG emissions (CO2-e) and cost SBD $5,900,000. This makes up a large portion of operational costs, which are then passed on to the very people who depend on this lifeline for income and mobility. Recognising a need to address the rising costs of trade and operations, the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) reached out to SPC and requested assistance and technical advice on improving efficiency for the Honiara and Noro ports.

The audit was only part of the work undertaken by SPC that included assistance to develop an Energy Policy, an Energy Management Plan and provided recommendations for energy savings such as installing a yard manual lighting control system and upgrade yard lighting on the new wharf to LED, install a rooftop solar PV system and upgrade office lighting to LED, undertake an eco-driver training program including installation of fuel flow meters, rationalize vehicle yard movements and changed modes of transport and install occupancy sensors on indoor lighting.

SIPA decided to implement those recommendations and firstly to manually control lighting by switching off the light at the new wharf when no ship is berthed and selecting lighting to enlighten only ship operation area when a ship is operated.. In September, SIPA reported back with a savings of SBD 40,358.20 compared to the previous month. This further translates to 7,800kWh in electricity savings and 6.7 tonnes of GHG emissions reduced from port operations. SIPA Chief Executive Officer Eranda Kotelawala participated at the December 2017 Conference of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (MTCC-Pacific) and highlighted the benefits from SPC assistance to engage in energy management and confirmed that the other energy savings projects were being implemented. Hugo John Baulo, SIPA Manager Operations and Shipping stated that SIPA achieved “a milestone benefiting from energy management audit through SPC. The outcome of this energy management audit report had paved the way to see positive changes/results.

Pacific leaders are currently at the forefront of the political international stage pushing for increased commitments to reducing the impacts of climate change through calls for larger nations to reduce their GHG emissions. Green Port initiatives and energy management is an opportunity to lead by example and take immediate action to assist countries achieve their GHG emissions reduction targets and contribute to global efforts.

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Figure 1 - further work currently undertaken at Honiara Port to reduce energy consumption for lighting