New power supply to reduce fumes from cruise ships at Sydney’s White Bay

Mr Elliott apologized to the community for waiting until this year to clear the way for onshore electricity, which will come from renewable sources.

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A 2017 shore-to-ship power study led the New South Wales government to discard it at the time, largely because of the $36 million cost of installing the technology.

Balmain Green MP Jamie Parker, who has long campaigned for the technology, said the facility would “flip the switch” on pollution from cruise ships and “change the lives” of Rozelle and Balmain residents.

“Sydney has long been a dumping ground for the cruise industry’s oldest and dirtiest cruise ships,” he said.

“[The investment] has propelled Sydney from an international cruise industry laggard to a global leader in showcasing best environmental practices.

However, Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne said the government should implement shore-to-ship power immediately, not two or three years from now. “This continued delay is not enough,” he said.

Cruise ships have been absent from Sydney Harbor since the pandemic hit in early 2020.Credit:Dominique Lorrimer

Port Authority chief executive Philip Holliday said cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises had pledged to upgrade their ships to handle shore power.

“There is an expense for them for their operations here,” he said, adding that this would be the first bulk shipping area in the world to have shore power..

The Port Authority expects the number of cruise ships visiting Sydney to return to pre-pandemic levels within two to three years. However, Mr Holliday said he was optimistic it would happen sooner as “the numbers we are seeing are quite positive already”.

The pandemic has also put state government plans on hold for a controversial third Sydney cruise terminal at Yarra Bay, near Port Botany.

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Mr Elliott would not be drawn to his view of Yarra Bay as a location for a cruise terminal, saying it was a matter for cabinet to deliberate on.

“If the demand is there, all governments are going to have to look at the options available,” he said.

In November, then Transport Minister Rob Stokes said cruise terminal proposals at Yarra Bay had remained on hold due to “some significant environmental concerns”.

Mr Stokes said Garden Island was the “obvious location” for a terminal should the Navy ever leave the prized Sydney Harbor site.

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Alan A. Seibert