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Portsmouth ahead of UK schedule to provide shore power facilities

Port building from the air

We are officially on track to become the UK’s leading shore power port, following confirmation we will accept an offer from Scottish and Southern Energy Network (SSEN) to secure extra power. In under two years we’ll be able to support multiple ships that have capacity to plug-in when they’re alongside the berth, reducing harmful emissions from running engines along with meeting net carbon neutral ambitions ahead of Portsmouth City Council’s and the government’s 2030 target.

The extra capacity from SSEN will provide an initial 15MVA (Mega-Volt Amp), which starts the process of providing shore power through to the berths where the ships can plug-in. Installation will be completed by 2025, in time for our major customer Brittany Ferries, who has two new hybrid ships which will operate from Portsmouth the same year, with the remaining fleet being converted to shore power by early 2027.

We are also expecting a minimum of 100 shore power ready cruise calls by 2026,  and by 2030 there is an expectation from industry trade body CLIA all cruise vessels will need to be shore power compliant. 

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “As a major UK port, and one that’s owned by the city’s residents, we are determined in our ambitious plans to provide the country’s most environmentally advanced facilities. 

“Both the environmental and economic benefits for the city and wider region are significant, this extra power unlocks the opportunity to secure new customers to the port but most importantly it means a long-term agreement from major customers, because they have the confidence we can provide the necessary power. 

“Thanks to cross-party support from both Portsmouth’s MPs and the council, we are committed to providing the funding necessary to secure extra capacity. This offer isn’t available for long and we have to give the go ahead now, or risk years not being able to secure additional capacity from the grid.

“This is just the beginning of our plans and to fully realise our whole vision we hope to work with the government to secure additional funding to make this a reality.”

Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director said “We have set our sustainable ambitions high and this is a major step forward to achieving our goal to become the UK’s first net carbon neutral port. 

“The industry expects ports to provide shore power facilities by 2030 and this means we’re ahead of target. In fact, we would become the most advanced UK port to provide a fully operational multi berth, multi user shore power system.

“These aren’t boasts we make lightly. Since we launched our Masterplan last year we have kept to our plans to deliver each priority, securing additional power capacity is essential to achieving these milestones. 

“We’ve always said our sustainable commitments are about bold plans and not platitudes, by accepting the offer from SSEN proves that we’re serious about creating space for a sustainable future, and showcasing the innovative opportunities available in the ports industry to achieve this.”

From the UK’s largest installation of Solar PV canopies in a port, a carbon-neutral terminal extension, and being home to energy prototypes, we are leading the way in sustainable innovation. This extra capacity power from SSEN will cost approx. £3m to secure, with further funds required to complete the whole shore power process.

Portsmouth City Council, who own and operate Portsmouth International Port, is investing in their climate change response to make the city a cleaner, greener, and safer place to live. By continuing to provide knowledge, attract funding, and collaborate with the community on projects that tackle climate change whilst addressing the local challenges.

Anyone interested in receiving news on the council’s plans to tackle climate change, funding opportunities, and how you can get involved can sign up to receive email updates by going to