RED HOOK — A system that will reduce pollution-causing fuel emissions from cruise ships docked in Red Hook is now ready for use at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal after years of strong community advocacy, the city announced Friday.
Shore power is a system that allows ships to plug into a local electrical grid and switch off their diesel engines while at port, according to the Economic Development Corporation. The connection to the grid enables the ship to continue onboard lighting, HVAC, escalators, elevators and other services.
"By conserving fuel that would otherwise be used to power vessels while in port, the shore power system will reduce air pollution from cruise vessel emissions and eliminate 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 95 tons of nitrous oxide, and 6.5 tons of particulate matter annually," according to the announcement.
The system at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal — only the second on the East Coast with this working infrastructure — will significantly reduce harmful fuel emissions from vessels and "drastically improve health and quality of life in the surrounding community," EDC President Maria Torres-Springer said in a statement.
Plans to bring shore power to Red Hook have been ongoing for years as local residents have fought for a decade urging officials to combat air pollution from idling ships.
Adam Armstrong, a leading advocate for shore power and a Red Hook resident, has spent years following the delayed rollout of the system at the cruise terminal. It was initially set to be ready for the cruise season in 2015, he said in a blog post earlier this year.
"It's also been 10 years of the ships at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal spewing climate change inducing CO2, NOx, SOx, Black Carbon, etc., and burning hundreds of gallons of fossil-fuel diesel per hour - continuously while in port!" he wrote.
Armstrong was not available for comment Friday.
The EDC took over management of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal's shore power from the Port of Authority in September.
The Queen Mary 2's call at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on Saturday is the next planned connection to the shore power system.