Eight years of campaigning has resulted in a big win for the local community. The White Bay Cruise Terminal is finally getting shore power, but the fight is not over yet.
A $60 million shore power facility, powered by 100% renewable energy, will be built for White Bay and Glebe Island. The facility will allow ships to plug into the electricity network while at berth rather than run their engines. After eight long years, this is a huge win for everyone on the peninsula, but particularly so for a group of locals who, together with local state member Jamie Parker, didn’t take no for an answer and kept pushing for change.
Balmain resident Kate Horrobin, who’s been leading the campaign says, “Australia has lagged the rest of the world for too long on cruise ship pollution regulations but finally our efforts have been vindicated.”
“It’s like having 2,000 cars pumping out toxic exhaust straight into homes!”
The success is thanks to the persistence of the community and the enduring support of Jamie Parker. “It’s an enormous relief to know that in the not-too-distant future we won’t suffer headaches, fogginess and breathing problems, and we no longer have to fear the long-term health impacts of toxic cruise ship emissions,” says Kate.
Jamie Parker says, “Sydney has long been a dumping ground for the cruising industry’s oldest and dirtiest ships, vessels that wouldn’t even be allowed to enter most ports in the northern hemisphere. These cruise ships, as big as a block of flats, run their engines 24/7 while at port. However, this announcement has catapulted Sydney into being a world- leader exhibiting environmental best practice.”
The new power facility will be the first of its kind in Australia and is scheduled to open in 2024. For residents living nearby, that’s another two years of emissions and noise pollution.
“0.1% is still 100 times the level of sulphur permitted in Australian diesel cars but at least this change would bring us inline with the rest of the world.”
Kate says, “Our work isn’t quite done. We’ve just had the P&O Pacific Explorer berthed for 30 nights over a six-week period pumping out toxic emissions right next to our homes. Cruise ships can still enter Sydney Harbour burning fuel that has 500 times the level of sulphur permitted in Australian diesel cars!” Current regulations require cruise ships to switch to 0.1% sulphur fuel within an hour of berthing and they can’t switch back until an hour before they leave. Locals have been calling on the Federal Government to mandate for this switch to be made before ships enter Sydney Harbour.
The details around which berths will have shore power is yet to be announced. “It’s unclear whether White Bay 4 will have access to power. The Pacific Explorer has been berthed at WB4 as part of their 30-night stay and as those living close to that wharf will attest, the impacts of the air and noise emissions have been devastating. This berth must be included in the shore power roll-out given it’s used for overnight stays which are the most impactful to the community”, says Kate.