Q&A with Lisa Sarodnick, Environmental Manager, Port of Kiel.

Port of Kiel is one of the partners of the Sea Li-ion project. Below you find an insightful interview where Environmental Manager, Lisa Sarodnick from Port of Kiel tell you more about Port of Kiel’s electrification journey.

Q: Tell us a little bit about Port of Kiel and your vision for the coming 10 years when it comes to electrification? What are your goals and your opportunities to affect the changes into a more renewable energy system?
A: We, at PORT OF KIEL, believe in a sustainable future. To implement this idea into our business processes, we have set up our own corporate sustainability strategy: BLUE PORT. The strategy comprises of many interconnected areas of sustainable improvement, such as introducing electronic/hydrogen fleet vehicles, installing photovoltaic systems, diverting traffic from the streets to the rail and most importantly: providing onshore power to ships in our port. The goal is to gradually reduce CO₂ emissions within the next 8 years. By 2030, we want to become 100% climate neutral.


Q: Tell us a little about your new onshore power connection and the usage of it?
A: PORT OF KIEL was one of the first ports to invest in onshore power connection worldwide. Today, we are providing onshore power on a daily basis to ships and ferries. Three of our four ferry- and cruise terminals already provide such infrastructure. By end of 2023, we are aiming to provide onshore power in all four of our ferry- and cruise terminals. This will make us one of the ports with the most extensive onshore power infrastructure in Europe.

If a ship meets the technical requirements for onshore power usage and passes the necessary integration tests, the shipping company can request onshore power at our berths.


Q: What is your reasoning when investing in electrification? And how much have you calculated that the new onshore power connection will reduce your climate emissions?
A: The reasoning is simple, but clear: PORT OF KIEL wants to become climate neutral by 2030. This is the goal we are aiming for. To reach this milestone, the investments into electrification were a logical step of a sustainable port development. As of today, the daily power supply of the Scandinavian ferries in our port saves around 5.000 tons of CO2 per year. With every cruise ship that can take onshore power, we can save additional 45 tons CO2 per day.

The expansion of the shore power infrastructure is one of our prioritized projects. In addition to the company’s own conversion to sustainable energy sources and innovative solutions for climate protection, the port also wants to use the shore power infrastructure to create incentives for shipping companies to save CO₂ emissions at the quay wall.


Q: Apart from reduces climate emissions, what other positive effects does the electrification of ports lead to?
A: The electrification enables the ships to turn off their engines which does not only reduce the CO2 emissions, but also strongly minimizes the noise- and pollutant emission.


Q: What challenges is Port of Kiel facing?
A: To provide onshore power for ships and ferries, the frequency, provided by the local electricity supplier, has to be converted. This converting process is linked to high costs. A second challenge was the limited amount of mid voltage power that the city had left in the energy grid that was not sufficient to supply ships with onshore power at berth. Consequently, PORT OF KIEL had to connect itself to the local network grid at high voltage level, being the first customer to do so in the region. This also meant that PORT OF KIEL had to build its own substation which again resulted in additional costs for the overall project, and it was an absolute novelty to have to build, own and operate such an infrastructure as a port. These challenges in terms of setting up the necessary infrastructure have been tackled in the past years. Additionally, it has been of high importance to uphold a close communication with costumers to secure the demand for shore power in the long run, e.g., via letters of intent, regular technical conversations and supporting the development of a concise strategy on the customer’s side.


Q: What are your thoughts on the usage of energy storages in ports?
A: Our port is mostly located in the city center. To establish energy storages at our port we would need further ground to expand to which is not given at the moment. Therefore, we are also looking into new technologies to move plans in this field further, e.g., aboard energy storages.


Q: To enable the energy supply in other parts of Port of Kiel, do you see any issues with power? Are you looking into other solutions, for instance local storage or solar energy?
A: All of our buildings and real estate objects that are suitable are already and continuously will be equipped with photovoltaic infrastructure. But of course, we are also looking into the fields of energy storage and evaluating other innovative options for improving sustainability even further in our port in the future.