San Francisco officials said on Tuesday they plan to set up a dockside power system that will supply electricity
to cruise ships and reduce harmful diesel fuel emissions from ship generators while they are in port. The plan, which has been endorsed by Carnival Corp.
, could reduce pollution by up to 80 percent, Reuters said
. The Port of San Francisco estimates
that in 2004 about 90 tons of diesel soot and nitrogen oxide were produced by cruise ships docked at the city's waterfront. Annual cruise line port calls at a new terminal the city is developing near the landmark Ferry Building
are expected to double to more than 100 by 2020, increasing diesel pollution by up to 55 percent. The terminal is scheduled for completion in 2008. There is a growing movement on the West Coast
to reduce air pollution from vessels, part of a wider global effort to curb pollution from shipping. The California Air Resources Board said
in a report in April that diesel emissions are a significant source of pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals
at state ports, contributing to an estimated 2,400 premature deaths each year. San Francisco would build an electric substation at the terminal to supply power to the ships for lighting, air conditioning and other operations. The project would cost about $2 million. San Francisco generates about 20 percent of electricity used in the city from hydropower dams in the city-owned Hetch Hetchy water system in the Sierra Nevada. This source, along with a growing supply of solar power, would feed electricity to the ships. The city would negotiate electricity rates
for the power supplied to the cruise ships.