What is shore power?

Shore power allows ships to turn off their engines and connect to the local power grid when in port. In Victoria, most of our electricity is generated through hydro power, further enhancing the sustainability of our energy.

What impact would shore power have at the Victoria Cruise Terminal?

The Ship Emission Mitigation Technology Assessment and Business Case created by consulting firm Moffat & Nichol indicates that a reduction of more than 46% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and criteria air contaminants (CACs) is achievable with the installation of shore power at two berths at Pier B, which welcomes 75% of all cruise ship calls during a season. The reduction of GHG emissions and CACs is equivalent to 1,394 cars on the road per year.

What is the cost of the proposed shore power solution?

The cost of the proposed solution is between $23.3 million and $24.8 million. In contrast, the 2019 gross revenues for GVHA, a not-for-profit organization, were $16.3 million. Due to COVID-19, the suspension of cruise worldwide, and remaining uncertainty about resumption of cruise in Canada and the financial impact to GVHA the project cannot proceed until a stabilization of the cruise industry is achieved and funding sources are determined.

The Process to Date

In January 2019, we contracted Synergy Enterprises to develop a full-scale emissions inventory for the terminal to help identify where we could make improvements to emissions under our control and jurisdiction.

The results of the inventory were optimistic:

  • Since 2010:
    • CACs have decreased by 41%
    • SOx has been reduced by 95%
    • Particulate matter has been reduced by 79%
    • Cruise ship passenger counts have increased 45% while GHG emissions have only increased 19.1% due to increasingly stringent emission standards
  • Cruise emissions account for 96.3% of all emissions at the Victoria Cruise Terminal.
  • As of 2018, GHG emissions were equivalent to 3,241 cars on the road per year

The inventory also meant that we could explore shore power to reduce emissions when vessels were in port, as well as find ways to reduce emissions from our buildings and our fleet vehicles. The process for developing the business case for shore power was started in fall, with the final report delivered in late 2020.

Throughout 2021, and prior to the return of cruise, the team worked behind the scenes to complete a 30% schematic design of the overall system, with completion of the schematics set for fall 2022.


In 2020, we launched an investigation into the viability of investing in shoreside emissions mitigation technologies. The study sought answers to two broad questions. First, in which technologies should GVHA invest? Second, how should a preferred technological approach be funded.? Work was prepared over nine months by consultant Moffatt & Nichol with support from Synergy Enterprises.

The full Executive Summary is available here.

Following its meeting on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority Board of Directors confirmed that the organization will proceed with the next stage of the shore power project for the Victoria Cruise Terminal at The Breakwater District. The full announcement of this decision is available here.

After extensive study of various shore power technologies, frequency conversion technology installed with the shore power connection has been recommended to optimize for variability in types of cruise and non-cruise vessels, further adding to the long-term diversification of the deep-water port.

Next Steps

The critical next steps in the project will focus on funding opportunities with partners and stakeholders and developing a power upgrade design and installation plan with BC Hydro.

As a component of the shore power project, our staff will develop an organization-wide electrification strategy, aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and objectives set out by the City of Victoria, which incorporates charging, renewable energy, and energy savings.

Additional Questions

What percentage of vessels will be able to plug in?

It is anticipated that by 2030, 85% of all vessels calling to the Victoria Cruise Terminal will be shore power capable; that number will increase to 95% by 2040. As of 2018, 48% of vessels calling to the Victoria Cruise Terminal are shore power capable.

Would any other vessels be able to use shore power, such as carriers and cargo ships?
Yes, the benefit of using frequency conversion technology is that other types of vessels that are shore power capable could be future customers of GVHA.

What is frequency conversion technology?
A frequency convertor would allow the electricity provided through shore power to be modulated at the point of connection. The technology allows for shore power frequency to be changed to allow for other types of ocean-going vessels.

Want to learn more?

We will update the status of the project periodically.

Contact us at gvha@gvha.ca if you have further questions or comments. You may also subscribe to our Harbour Currents newsletter by clicking the drop-down menu of “I Want To” on our home page here.