In an ironic twist, California officials are encouraging ocean-going vessels to use their auxiliary engines at berth rather than plug into shore power for several days to reduce demand on the electric grid during a record heat wave. The vessels were exempt from using shore power from September 3rd to September 9th in order to preserve the grid capacity. Current regulations require 80% of container, cruise and refrigerated vessels that call at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland to use shore power. In the updated regulation in 2021, auto carriers and tankers will also be required to plug into shore power for the first time. Auto carriers will need to comply starting in 2025. Tankers docking at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach must also comply starting in 2025, while tankers in Northern California have until 2027.
Last weekend, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) predicted that energy demand would exceed 47,000 megawatts, the highest since the summer of 2017. The agency is urging Californians to conserve energy beginning at 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. by not using large appliances and setting the thermostat to 78°F or higher. PTR has seen instances where the lack of grid capacity has caused delays in shore power plans or even some outright cancellations in countries in Europe but this is the first time that California has put its breaks on shore power due to increased electricity demand elsewhere.
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