Sydney Ports has effectively ruled out using shore power as a means of reducing noise and air pollution at the White Bay cruise terminal.
The technology, which nearby residents say is their preferred solution to the current impasse, would enable ships to off their diesel engines and electricity generators while berthed at the site.
But Sydney Ports Corporation, a state-owned entity, confirmed it was not being discussed as a short-term option.
“Shore power is not being considered by any port in Australia, and indeed only a few countries in the world – mostly very busy ports with multiple ships – are now introducing it,” a spokesperson told the Inner West Independent.
“That does not mean to say it’s not an option – but a great deal of planning is involved in delivering this solution and among the challenges for White Bay is the fact that most cruise ships berthing at the terminal are not equipped to take shore power.”
The spokesperson said Sydney Ports agrees it could be a “medium to long term option”, but declined to nominate how many years that might be.
The confirmation will be a blow for community groups hoping to reduce the sound and fumes from nearby ships, which can be blown on to the Balmain peninsula by the wind.
Chair of Balmain Precinct Christina Ritchie said in an email to residents that the White Bay site should never have proceeded.
“At the very least, the NSW government must now make provision for mandatory on-shore power, immediately apply strict noise and pollution controls relevant to a residential area, and ensure all port traffic uses the new dedicated port road and avoids local roads,” she said.