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Mayor Harrell Advances Legislation Establishing Shore Power Agreement with Port of Seattle for Pier 66 

Seattle to become one of the first cruise ports in the nation to offer shore power at every berth, significantly reducing port-related air emissions in the Northwest. 

Seattle—Mayor Harrell has advanced legislation authorizing Seattle City Light (City Light) to enter into a two-year agreement (MOA) with the Port of Seattle (“the Port”) to construct and provide shore power to Pier 66. The shore power will allow cruise ships to plug into the local electrical grid and turn off their diesel-powered engines while at berth. Nearly 25 percent of total cruise ship emissions in the Puget Sound airshed occur while at berth. On average, shore power would enable each connected ship to reduce their diesel emissions by 80 percent and CO2 emissions by 66 percent respectively while at berth. This legislation will be considered by Seattle City Council today.  

“Through this advancement in shore power, we are supporting cleaner air, maritime electrification, and a greener tourism industry,” said Mayor Harrell. “This agreement furthers the City and Port’s shared mission to drive climate action and stay at the cutting edge of maritime innovation. I am proud of the Port and the City for setting the standard for sustainable port operations that move us towards a zero-emissions future.” 

Through this MOA and the electrification of Pier 66, Seattle would become one of the first cruise ports in the nation with multiple berths to make shore power available at every berth. Power will be provided from an existing City Light electrical power vault, submersible cable from Terminal 46 to Pier 66, and other infrastructure development. The construction agreement is supported by a $44M infrastructure investment from the Port, and $3.5M investment from the City’s Maritime Transportation Electrification Program (MARTEP), improving City Light’s distribution system including ductbank capacity to serve Washington State Ferries, King County Marine Division, Kitsap Transit, and the Port of Seattle. If approved by Seattle City Council, the MOA also authorizes the city to execute a thirty-year Operations Agreement between City Light and the Port of Seattle.  

“The Port of Seattle’s partnership with Seattle City Light and the City of Seattle to add shore power to the Bell Harbor Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 is critical to achieving the Port’s goals of a zero-carbon future,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “Once online this cruise season, shore power at Pier 66 will enable cruise ships to switch from using their engines to City Light’s low carbon electricity – reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 4,500 metric tons per year. This along with the Port of Seattle Commission’s recent order to mandate shore power use by all home ported vessels in 2027 will allow us to continue to balance the economic benefits of tourism to the region, while protecting the environment around us.” 

The Pier 66 Shore Power Project is the latest in a series of electrification efforts by the City and the Port to create the greenest port in North America by phasing out seaport-related emissions by 2050. Electrification of Pier 66 required the installation of a one-mile submarine cable under Elliott Bay from Terminal 46 to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 in January 2024. The completion of the Pier 66 project is a significant milestone, achieving the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy  goal of electrifying all Seattle cruise berths six years ahead of schedule, originally set for 2030. Further, the Pier 66 Shore Power project and MOA advance the Seattle Waterfront Clean Energy Strategy—a joint effort between the Port, City Light and Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) to eliminate emissions from Seattle’s waterfront and transition the local maritime industry from fossil fuels to clean, reliable energy.  

What People Are Saying  

Dawn Lindell, Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO 

“We’re proud to partner with the Port of Seattle in making shore power connections a reality for Seattle’s bustling cruise industry,” said Dawn Lindell, Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO. “Electrifying Pier 66 delivers on City Light’s strategic vision to create a clean energy future for the region. By connecting ships into our clean, carbon neutral power, we are reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines and improving air quality for the people who visit, work and live in Seattle.” 

Councilmember Tanya Woo, Chair of the Council’s Sustainability, City Light, Arts & Culture Committee 

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality are critical actions in our fight against climate change. I commend Seattle City Light and the Port of Seattle for their collaborative effort on this ambitious project. Bringing shore power connections to the cruise ships at Pier 66 will have a lasting impact on our region and greatly contribute to the City’s comprehensive transportation electrification strategy.” 

Rich Austin Jr., President, ILWU Local 19 

“Shore power is the future, and we commend the City of Seattle and Port of Seattle for leading the nation in eliminating seaport emissions. This effort is a significant step in the right direction in improving the health and safety of our many maritime workers. Cleaner air means healthier working conditions and a better quality of life for everyone in our community who work, shop, and visit the waterfront.