The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority will explore the feasibility of providing shore power to ships docking at the Victoria Cruise Ship terminal.
The board of directors has authorized it look at costs, funding opportunities, and a timeline for construction and implementation.
Shore power allows cruise ships to turn off diesel engines and connect to a local power source while docked and cut down on emissions.
The GVHA says a 2012 estimate found that the cost of one connection would be close to $13 million.
“While we would love to just flip a switch and supply shore power, the installation of a single plug comes with a series of steps and considerations that range from availability of electricity, cost and funding, and a construction timeline,” said Ian Robertson, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO.
The GVHA says 16 cruise ship ports around the world, including Seattle and Vancouver, offer shore power to docking cruise ships, but only 30 per cent of cruise ships are equipped to operate with shore side electricity, another 18 percent will be retrofitted within the next five years.
The announcement comes as the GVHA releases a detailed emissions inventory for the terminal.
The report by Synergy Enterprises finds that greenhouse gas emissions at the terminal have risen 19.1 per cent since 2010 despite a 45 per cent increase in cruise ship passenger counts.
The terminal emissions were the equivalent to 3,241 cars on the road per year in 2018.
It also finds particulate matter has been reduced by 79 per cent.
On Thursday, Victoria council will discuss a motion to place a limit on the number of cruise ships docking in the city until a plan can be found to limit their emissions and waste.
“In a climate emergency, the cruise ship industry must act to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable environment if it is to capture the social licence needed to operate in our city,” the motion reads.
The GVHA says that Victoria’s Ogden Point terminal is the busiest cruise ship port-of-call in Canada. Cruise tourism has grown from 110 ship calls carrying 161,000 passengers in 2002 to a record 250 cruise ships and 640,000 passengers during the 2018 season.