New efforts to cut the carbon footprint at the Port of Long Beach has gotten an electrifying start. According to Rick Cameron who is in charge of planning and environmental affairs at the port, a new state grant is helping the port fund the project.
"The test program involves the production of twenty-five new or converted electric cargo handling vehicles to be demonstrated for twelve months in the port at various terminals," Cameron said.
Among some of the pieces that will be electrified is the six-story tall rubber tire gantry crane that's used by port workers to move containers from ships and onto trucks. Southern California President Ron Nichols says it's the largest thing the company has ever electrified.
"These are literally zero-emissions cranes. This is the largest thing that we will have ever electrified," Nichols said. "Everything that gets electrified gets cleaner and cleaner, this is a great example of that."
Rubber tire gantry cranes are responsible for about 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions at the port. Nine RTGs will be switched from diesel to electric.
Despite some of the steepest reductions in diesel emissions over the last decade, ports remain some of Southern California's largest single source of air pollution. The L.A.-Long Beach ports handle about 40 percent of U.S. imports and supports thousands of jobs throughout Southern California.
The program will cost $14 million and is expected to cut more than 1,300 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year. The electrified vehicles are connected to a grid that's powered by 40 percent clean energy. Nichols says cleaner energy is coming down the pipeline.
"Today we're at about 40 percent carbon-free energy. We have a plan going forward that we think that not only we, but all the state, should move towards getting 80 percent carbon free energy by 2030," Nichols said.