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

Kathy Benner, center, manager of the Juneau Raptor Center, prepares to wrap a sheet around an injured trumpeter swan to transport him as Matthew Brown holds the bird near Auke Bay on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Kerry Howard)
Swan seized safely with sheet

At last, the beaked beast’s been bound.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Viruses are constantly mutating, with coronavirus variants circulating around the globe. (NIAID-RML)
COVID at a glance for Wednesday, Feb. 24

The most recent state and local numbers.

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

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

"We need to solve for the pattern instead of for a single problem,” says Sarah Sarah Lewis.  (Courtesy Photo / Brian Wallace for Juneau's Climate Change Solutionists)
Juneau’s Climate Change Solutionists: Reducing Food Waste with Sarah Lewis

“We need to solve for the pattern instead of for a single problem”

This photo shows medical supplies on a table at a Feb. 11 vaccination clinic at Centennial Hall. Another clinic is planned for next month, and registration for it will open Wednesday for people 65 and older. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Vaccine clinic registration to open early for seniors

The clinic is in mid-March. Here’s how to register.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Viruses are constantly mutating, with coronavirus variants circulating around the globe. (NIAID-RML)
COVID at a glance for Monday, Feb. 21

The most recent state and local numbers.

Most Read