Improving air quality in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Region remains a priority for Port Houston. The port utilizes:
- New technologies
- Alternative fuels
- Strategic fleet replacement with low-emission vehicles and equipment
- Employee vanpool program
- CASP works to reduce real and sustainable maritime and port-related emissions
- Multi-source, multi-pollutant, multi-year program has found economically feasible ways and means to achieve emissions reductions from intermodal interests throughout the port area
100% Renewable Electricity at Port Houston
As part of a larger, multi-year program to reduce its carbon footprint, Port Houston approved a contract for a 100% renewable solar power field to be built for Port Houston’s electrical power, no renewable energy credits (RECs) needed. This landmark program will eliminate an estimated 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from Port Houston’s carbon footprint over 10 years.
Other Port Houston carbon dioxide reduction efforts include replacing all high-mast lighting with LEDs at container terminals, choosing to purchase only hybrid-electric rubber-tire gantry (RTG) cranes, evaluating building energy management systems, and demonstration projects with all-electric RTGs and terminal tractors.
These efforts combined have reduced Port Houston’s carbon footprint by 55% from the chosen 2016-2017 baseline. Port Houston is on track to reduce its carbon footprint by 75% by 2040.
Renewable Electricity FAQs
Q: Where specifically is renewable energy coming from?
A: In June 2020, we started getting renewable energy from Prospero Solar Project near Andrews, Texas. Before then, we were receiving energy from other existing assets of Shell MP2 Energy LLC. Our electricity is coming from wind and solar generation assets installed in West and South Texas. This asset-backed, 100% clean energy purchase is cutting edge, and we are the first port authority with this type of program.
Q: What are the specifics of the agreement you have with MP2 Energy?
A: We entered into a 10-year, 100% clean energy contract with MP2 Energy in 2020, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell Energy North America. This electricity supply agreement is backed by new, renewable generation assets that will contribute to additional renewable electricity generation on the ERCOT grid, to the equivalent of Port Houston’s consumption.
Q: How much electricity does the port use on average in a year?
A: Port Houston’s facilities used approximately 50,000 Megawatt Hours (MWh) in 2019 and 47,000 Megawatt Hours in 2020. Most of this electricity is used to power our Bayport, Barbours Cut and Turning Basin Terminals. Driven by containerized cargo growth, this annual demand is expected to grow by 20% to 60,000 MWh by 2030.
Q: Does the port bring in solar materials via the Houston Ship Channel?
A: Yes we do! In 2019 we imported 118,354 metric tons of solar panels; approximately 1 Gigawatt (GW) of solar panels. In other words, the solar panels we facilitated to import in 2019 can power 155,000 US households. These solar panels are brought to the port primarily in shipping containers. Last year we also handled nearly 72,000 metric tons of wind turbines and parts. Some of this was in containers, but the majority was breakbulk cargo (67% breakbulk; 33% container).
Q: In light of recent events, is the Port concerned about the reliability of its energy source?
A: No, we are not concerned. During the winter storm of February 2021, the Port was shut down due to the dangerous working conditions. The great extent of the power shortage was caused by rolling blackouts reducing electricity supply to natural gas facilities which were in turn unable to supply gas for electricity generation. A diversity of energy sources is healthy for the grid and the economy. Over the last few years, extreme weather events such as icy conditions, hurricanes, and flooding create unsafe conditions for trucks on the road and ship movements.
Cleaner Vehicles for Cleaner Air
In 2020, Port Houston was awarded $1,007,178 in Seaport and Rail Yard Emission Reduction program (SPRY) grant funds to purchase and replace sixteen (16) terminal tractors at Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals with new, clean diesel vehicles.
In 2017, Port Houston was awarded a $143,500 in EPA grant funds to purchase new equipment and vehicles. So far, we have purchased and replaced one (1) vehicle.
In 2015, in partnership with local companies, Port Houston was awarded $863,244 in EPA grant funds. Twenty-three (23) heavy-duty vehicles were purchased and replaced with new, clean diesel vehicles.
In 2014, in partnership with the Houston-Galveston Area Council and local companies, Port Houston was awarded $894,059 in grant funds. Fifteen (15) heavy-duty vehicles were purchased and replaced with new, clean diesel vehicles.
2013 Goods Movement Air Emissions Inventory
The 2013 Goods Movement Air Emissions Inventory (GMEI) uses the latest emission inventory tools and methodologies to quantify mobile source emissions that are associated with Port Houston operations. The mobile sources include ocean-going vessels (OGV), harbor vessels (HV), cargo handling equipment (CHE), locomotives, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles (HDDV). The focus of this inventory is on emissions from Port Houston related cargo movements that transited the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) non-attainment ozone area in 2013.
The study found:
- Ocean going vessels accounted for 58 percent of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions
- Heavy duty diesel-fueled vehicles 15 percent
- Cargo handling equipment 16 percent
- Locomotives 7 percent
- Harbor vessels 4 percent
Drayage Loan Program
From 2009 to 2017, Port Houston partnered with Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and the Environmental Defense Fund in the Port Drayage Truck Bridge Loan Program Program Features:
- H-GAC received $9 million from the EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) SmartWay Program
- Port Houston contributed an additional $50,000 for a loan guarantee fund for high-risk applicants
- On average, four trucks a month, or 50 trucks a year, were approved for funding
- Workshops sponsored by Port Houston allowed trucking companies and independent owner/operators to learn about funding opportunities