Popular Norwegian cruise port of Flåm has received government funding to help build a shoreside electricity facility to supply visiting cruise ships.

Port of Flåm submitted an application to Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment (ENOVA) for funding towards the project in April 2020, and this has now been granted.

The cost of building the OPS (Onshore Power Supply) facility including an underwater cable directly from the hydro power station in Aurland to Flåm is estimated to NKr83m. The ENOVA grant is for NKr27m.

The application to ENOVA was prepared in collaboration with local stakeholders, the cruise industry, and the local energy supplier, noted Tor Mikkel Tokvam, port director, Port of Flåm.

Opportunities abound

‘This is big and important news for us. This shows that we are ready for a change over. Now we need to find a balance when it comes to the OPS facility and the opportunities it gives us. It now needs to be seen in context with the regulations for the World Heritage Fjords set by the Norwegian Maritime Authority and the Norwegian parliament’s decision to make the UNESCO World Heritage fjords emission free in 2026,’ said Tokvam.

He added, ‘now it is important to find a future-oriented strategy that benefits public health and the environment in the World Heritage fjords while safeguarding the foundation of creating value locally.’

75% reduction in cruise ship emissions

By establishing an OPS, emissions from cruise ships will be reduced by 75% in a few years, predicts the Port of Flåm.

At the same time, the project will contribute to greater supply of electricity to Flåm creating an opportunity to electrify the entire destination across sectors, remarked Jon Olav Stedje, port operation manager and head of marketing.

All-electric sightseeing catamarans

Since 2016,  Norwegian passenger ship owner and operator, The Fjords, has been operating all-electric sightseeing catamarans along the UNESCO World Heritage listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen.

In 2018, Port of Kristiansand began offering cold ironing for cruise ships at berth, in a first for Norway.