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Energizing the Future

November 19, 2015


At the Port of Long Beach, going green is a given. The challenge is finding the most efficient, cost-effective and secure ways to do it, especially when going green involves increasing reliance on electricity.

Those best qualified to find lasting solutions are energy innovators who know what is possible and Port tenants who know the operational needs. To foster their collaboration, the Port has launched a new initiative called the Energy Technology Advancement Program (ETAP).

Modeled on the Port’s Technology Advancement Program (TAP) created under the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), ETAP invites clean energy developers and tenants to partner on field-testing clean technologies that make the best use of available energy, increase the supply, or both. ETAP provides the framework for the Port to defray up to half the costs for the demonstration.

"We're building the Port of the Future," said CEO Jon Slangerup. "ETAP directly supports and accelerates that effort."

Introducing ETAP

Launched within the last month, ETAP is part of the Port’s comprehensive strategy for transitioning to renewable power sources and self-generation systems under its Energy Island Initiative. Over the next decade, the Port is seeking to become a sustainable energy network, or “island,” capable of supporting cargo operations independent of the grid and supplying power to vital city services in the event of an emergency or outage.

By focusing on clean energy generation and power projects, ETAP takes the Port’s commitment to using the best available technologies to promote green operations to the next level, said Port Managing Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs Rick Cameron. “ETAP allows us to support projects aimed at achieving our goals of having a reliable power supply, stabilizing power costs for our tenants, reducing the Port’s carbon footprint, and increasing the competitive advantages of moving cargo through our gateway.”

A major driver of the Energy Island Initiative is the growing demand for electricity within the Port, projected to triple or quadruple by 2030 compared with 2005 usage. Lease and regulatory clean air requirements – including California’s shore power rules requiring ships to plug in at berth to cut emissions – are increasing demand. More alternative fuel options and related infrastructure are also needed to meet local, state and federal clean air targets, as well as the Port’s own goal of driving emissions down to zero.

Tapping Into ETAP

Guidelines for ETAP are available on the Port’s website. Eligible applicants are either Port tenants seeking to host a demonstration project or developers seeking to test their green technology in a marine environment. Developers include businesses such as vendors or manufacturers, academic institutions, nonprofit technology designers, public utilities or government testing laboratories.

The projects could involve either emerging technology or existing systems viable in other industrial settings that are being applied for the first time in a maritime environment. A key requirement is a project site within the Port. “It is essential to test these technologies in a modern working seaport,” Cameron said.

Off-the-shelf technologies that can be readily purchased and installed are not eligible.

Projects must address energy demand, supply or both. Examples of demand-side projects include equipment that uses energy more efficiently and systems that conserve energy by controlling, reducing or eliminating consumption. The latter includes intelligent technologies, such as those with embedded sensors, allowing users to reduce waste and save money by precisely controlling when and how power is used.

Potential supply-side projects include renewable power generation systems, energy storage technology, fuel cell technologies, heating and cooling systems, and capture systems, such as waste heat recovery. Supply projects must demonstrate the ability to provide power with lower emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases than sources currently contributing energy to the grid.

“Projects that fall into both categories are even better candidates for ETAP funding,” Cameron said.

At least half the project cost must be borne by the applicant through direct funding, funding from partners and/or in-kind services based on their fair-market value. Energy rebates or other incentives may be factored into the ETAP agreement. All ETAP grants are subject to approval by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.

The ETAP guidelines establish minimum requirements and the review process for proposals, which can be made at any time. The Port may also solicit bids for specific projects it intends to fund through ETAP. Solicited proposals will be advertised on the Port’s Planet Bids Vendor Portal. The guidelines also address qualifications of proposers, performance metrics, timelines and deliverables, oversight and insurance requirements.

Building on TAP

The ETAP initiative is a natural extension of the Clean Air Action Plan Technology Advancement Program. Since 2007, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have teamed up to invest more than $10.5 million through TAP and related efforts to support pioneering clean air technology for ships, tugboats, cargo-handling equipment, drayage trucks and locomotives.

TAP has helped advance breakthroughs such as the Foss Maritime hybrid tugboats, the Westport ISX liquefied natural gas heavy-duty truck engine, and Advanced Cleanup Technologies Inc.’s pollution scrubbing technology. The company’s Advanced Maritime Emissions Control System, AMECS, recently won approval from the California Air Resources Board as an alternative to shore power for capturing at-berth emissions from container ships.

Unlike the CAAP TAP, which was established as a partnership between the two ports, ETAP is solely a Port of Long Beach initiative.

The priorities for the Port’s Energy Island Initiative are: 1) advance green power, 2) use self-generated distributed energy with micro-grid connectivity, 3) provide cost-effective fueling options, 4) improve energy-related efficiencies and 5) attract new businesses, create jobs, increase revenue and reduce costs. ETAP touches on them all, Slangerup said.

“From a cleaner environment to a stronger economy, ETAP is an excellent tool for advancing the next generation of energy solutions and their manifold benefits locally and around the globe,” Slangerup said. “The Port of Long Beach is widely recognized as the Green Port and a leader in environmental sustainability. We’re proud to keep that going.”

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