Shore power maintenance staff members with the State Grid Yichang Power Supply Company works at Zigui port in Yichang City, central China's Hubei Province, Aug. 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)
WUHAN, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Yangtze River Cruise, a classic and picturesque tourist route in China, as well as cargo shipping along the Yichang section of the river, are both becoming greener thanks to the surging usage of shore power in Yichang City, central China's Hubei Province.
At the Zigui Port in Yichang, a port on the emerald-colored Yangtze River flanked by undulating mountains on both sides, an electrician on the cruise ship "Century Mythology" is connecting the vessel to shore electricity.
"Previously while docking, we powered the vessel with diesel engines, which created not only loud noises but also a great deal of gas emissions. Besides, one person must be on watch, lest the generator tripped," said Xu Ou, the electrician. "Many docks were plagued by gushing black smoke and buzzing engines," Xu added.
According to Xu, the shift to stable-voltage shore power has made his job easier, and travelers' boarding experiences happier.
Yichang, home to the Three Gorges Project and the Gezhouba Project, both hydropower projects, is situated at a strategic position on the Yangtze River waterway, which is also an ecologically sensitive area.
Meanwhile, a large volume of vessels berth there waiting to pass through the ship locks. Nearly 500 such vessels are recorded daily along the section between the Three Gorges Dam and the Gezhouba Dam, according to Wang Ming, chief engineer of the transportation authorities of Yichang.
Since 2015, Yichang has been active in constructing shore power facilities. To date, 168 sets of shore power facilities with a capacity of 27,000 kilovolt-amperes have been installed, covering 67 docks on the Yichang section of the Yangtze River.
As of the end of July this year, shore power of 29.39 million kWh had been provided to ships passing Yichang, on par with the power provided by 6,900 tonnes of fuel, which resulted in the reduction of hazardous gas emissions by 21,000 tonnes.
As Three Gorges tourism gains traction this year, the use of shore electricity continues the rise.
During the first seven months of 2023, shore power of 6.27 million kWh had been transmitted to vessels making a total of 7,387 trips, among which the usage in July broke the monthly record and reached 1.78 million kWh, a year-on-year surge of 49.1 percent, according to Li Xingheng, a shore power maintenance staff member with the State Grid Yichang Power Supply Company.
Shore power has been adopted by all passing cruise ships that berth in Yichang, while the usage of shore power at cargo wharfs increased by 83,000 kWh in the past year, Li added.
Meanwhile, it does not require much persuasion to achieve this rise in use. "People used to need persuasion, but now they voluntarily apply for shore power usage, signaling a boom in demand," said Li.
To Lyu Biyun, captain of cruise ship "Athena," the benefits of shore power are tangible. His ship usually arrives at the Zigui Port at 1 a.m. and departs for Fengdu in Chongqing Municipality at 9 p.m., and the shore power used in this time slot saves him about 7,000 yuan (about 975 U.S. dollars) compared to the cost of diesel fuel used previously.
More importantly, the use of shore power reduces pollution in the Yangtze River, Lyu emphasized. ■
This aerial photo taken on Aug. 4, 2023 shows the shore power facilities at Zigui port in Yichang City, central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)
This aerial photo taken on Aug. 4, 2023 shows ships docking at Zigui port in Yichang City, central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)
Shore power maintenance staff members with the State Grid Yichang Power Supply Company test the high voltage cable device at Zigui port in Yichang City, central China's Hubei Province, Aug. 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)
This aerial photo taken on Aug. 4, 2023 shows the Zigui port in Yichang City, central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)