We’ve come a long way, people. At one point we thought the world was flat! Now cruise ships docking at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will get to plug into a giant electrical outlet instead of spreading their diesel fumes into Red Hook. It’s taken two years of “plug negotiations” (not the official terminology), but today Bloomberg will announce the agreement, which will supply cruise ships with power and thereby be much more environmentally friendly, as far as giant cruise ships go.
The New York Times City Room blog informs us that Brooklyn is the first East Coast terminal to adopt this technology. Red Hook residents will hopefully be quite happy with their new port plug, as they’ve been outspoken on the issue due to the “veil of haze and what they claim are health risks” on the waterfront.
Apparently a large cruise ship gives off 1,600 tons of air pollutants annually, and plugging in will get rid of “nearly 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 95 tons of nitrous oxide, and 6.5 tons of diesel particulate matter annually.”
But the most important question is, of course, who is paying for the giant plug and the electricity it contains? After all, as the Times says, “Electricity for a 3,000-passenger cruise ship the size of four football fields was not exactly on the rate card for the New York Power Authority, which provides power for the cruise terminal.”
Negotiations over the bill resulted in a complicated compromise between the city, state, and private sector. The Economic Development Corporation will subsidize some of the power, Carnival Cruise Lines will pay “12 cents per kilowatt hours,” and the city economic agency and power authority will divide the other 16 cents. Just like how you divvy up the Con-Ed bill with your roommates!
Carnival will also have to pay $4 million to retrofit its two ships that use the port — the Queen Mary 2 and the Caribbean Princess. The two ships dock in Brooklyn a total of 40 times a year.
Meanwhile, it cost the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey $12 million to upgrade infrastructure at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, along with a $2.9 million grant from the EPA.
We can’t wait to go down to the docks and gawk at the giant electrical outlet.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 13, 2011