Andy Romanoff, board member for Renewable Juneau, talks to the Rev. Caroline Malseed while she signs a petition asking the City and Borough of Juneau to spend marine passenger fee money on pursuing shore power. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Andy Romanoff, board member for Renewable Juneau, talks to the Rev. Caroline Malseed while she signs a petition asking the City and Borough of Juneau to spend marine passenger fee money on pursuing shore power. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Could there be fewer cruise ships idling in Juneau?

Petition wants city to put marine passenger fees toward shore power expansion

Renewable Juneau wants to see cruise ship passenger fees go toward cutting down the number of idling ships at Juneau’s docks.

That’s why ahead of a May 2 deadline for public comment on use of the $5 per cruise ship passenger tax City and Borough of Juneau collects, Renewable Juneau is circulating a petition online and in person asking money be used for expanding shore power.

Shore power allows cruise ships to plug in to the city’s electrical grid while they’re docked in Juneau, which allows operators to turn off a ship’s engine and reduce emissions.

Princess Cruises has been able to connect to shore power at a dock since 2001, which made Juneau the first place in the world to offer the option. However, that’s the only dock in Juneau that offers shore power.

[Polluting paradise? Air monitors will help find out]

“Juneau was the first back in 2001, and that was 18-plus years ago,” said Andy Romanoff, board member for Renewable Juneau in a phone interview with the Juneau Empire. “Since then, other cities up and down the coast have done the same, and we should continue the process.”

Romanoff said the petition is not meant to be binding or to bring the matter to ballots.

“It’s to demonstrate the level of public interest,” Romanoff said. “It’s just an awareness-generating tool for the city Assembly to get a more accurate sense of the level of concern out there in town.”

He said the petition had collected about 120 signatures as of Monday afternoon and the effort had started in earnest Saturday.

A button handed out by Renewable Juneau supports shore power, which allows cruise ships to avoid idling their engines by providing electricity from the shore. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

A button handed out by Renewable Juneau supports shore power, which allows cruise ships to avoid idling their engines by providing electricity from the shore. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

The city manager’s recommended use of marine passenger fees for fiscal year 2020 does include some spending on shore power — $250,000 for a feasibility study. Marine passenger fee revenue is anticipated to be $6 million in fiscal year 2020, according to a memo from the city manager’s office.

“The whole purpose would be to make sure the public understands the consequences,” said City Manager Rorie Watt in a phone interview with the Juneau Empire. “What would it cost and what are the consequences pro and con.”

Romanoff said Renewable Juneau would prefer the city forego the study, which he characterized as a waste of time and money.

Instead, Romanoff said he would prefer to see that money used to complete design work for increased shore power.

He said cities — including Juneau, which had shore power feasibility study done in 2016 — have already done studies.

[Local marijuana retailers like the idea of letting folks smoke onsite]

Juneau’s 2016 study found the cost of providing shore power to one more dock would cost $12.9 million. Romanoff said Montreal was recently able to power four berths for about $2 million each.

Watt said Montreal handles ships that are a different size from the ones that come to Juneau and is part of the North American grid, which changes the nature of its electricity needs.

Watt maintained a study is a good idea to determine what sort of demands shore power would create for Juneau, what could be done to meet those demands and what impact the decision to increase shore power berths could have on the average Juneau resident.

“It’s a complicated thing,” Watt said. “When you bring that much of a load on, I think there are technical issues. There’s also the ultimate source of the power. That’s a tricky question. If it’s raining like cats and dogs, they might have the capacity. It’s not a yes-no question.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Nov. 27

In this photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB investigator Clint Crookshanks, left, and member Jennifer Homendy stand near the site of some of the wreckage of the DHC-2 Beaver, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, that was involved in a midair collision near Ketchikan. The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration should tighten rules about minimum visibility during flights and require more weather training for pilots who fly around Ketchikan.  (Peter Knudson/NTSB via AP)
Safety board recommends new measures for Alaska air tours

The board wants regulations for Ketchikan similar to requirements in Hawaii and the Grand Canyon.

Harbor seals have a face full of whiskers, which the seals use to follow hydrodynamic wakes left by prey fish; even a blind seal can track a fish this way, discriminating victims by size and shape and direction of movement.  (Courtesy Photo / Jos Bakker)
On the Trails: The sense of touch

Touch is a mechanical sense, detecting physical stimuli such as pressure, texture,… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Tuesday, Nov. 29

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Nov. 26

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Sugar Bear Alaskan Treasures, seen here, was one of many artist vendors featured at the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Indigenous Artists & Vendors Holiday Market from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday through Sunday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Indigenous Holiday Market features local artists

Market’s first return since 2018.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Thursday, Nov. 24

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A member of the Juneau Gun Club helps participants with shooting clay targets, one of many events featured at the club’s annual Thanksgiving turkey shoot. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Ready, aim, gobble: Juneau Gun Club hosts annual Turkey Shoot

No turkeys were harmed in the making of this article.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Wednesday, Nov. 23

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read