NEW YORK (Reuters) - Luxury liners that dock in New York will soon be able to plug into the East Coast's first electric ship terminal, city officials said on Thursday.
The green initiative at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal swaps electric power for the diesel fuel emissions spewed into the air by cruise ships. The behemoth boats typically idle their engines as they dock to unload passengers and supplies, often for up to 11 hours at a time.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that the environmental move will eliminate roughly 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide that the ships emit into the air each year. The new grid will allow the ships to shut off their engines and be powered by electricity instead.
"We'll lower fossil fuel emissions and improve air quality for local residents all while keeping our waterfront working and our tourism numbers growing," the mayor said.
Brooklyn's waterfront electric grid will be the first of its kind on the East Coast, although electric docks have been used on the West Coast for nearly a decade.
It will cost roughly $15 million to install the electric grid, with funding coming from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The transatlantic Queen Mary 2 is one of the world's largest cruise ships and its operator Cunard Lines said they will spend several million to retrofit the ship for the electric grid.
"Now, the ability to connect to shore power will enable us to contribute even more to the overall air quality of the city." Cunard president Peter Shanks said in a statement.
Construction on the terminal will begin later this year and is expected to be complete by early 2012.
(Reporting by Aman Ali, editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)