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Port Opportunities with Energy, Resilience and Sustainability (POWERS) Program

Ports are the gateways for the American economy, moving 90 percent of internationally traded cargo, including the energy that powers our homes, our businesses, and our everyday lives.

To meet the twin challenges of energy security and climate change, our country must invest in port infrastructure, with no ‘red tape’ delays. The AAPA POWERS program advocates for federal policies to support American energy prowess, pragmatic decarbonization, technology for renewables, and environmental sustainability. This platform represents a massive economic growth opportunity for the nation. Jobs and training programs should, whenever possible, benefit near-port and environmental justice communities.

To meet the nation’s energy supply and sustainability objectives, the port industry will work with the federal government to:

  1. Bolster global energy availability through liquified natural gas (LNG) and other ‘bridge fuel’ export capacity for ethanol and biodiesel, for example. Demand for American energy exports is growing because of American innovation and energy’s geostrategic importance. Working with policymakers, AAPA will lead the way toward:

    • Recognizing a Made in America success story – that U.S. energy export terminals are operating at capacity for the first time.
    • Delivering sorely needed energy to American allies around the world, particularly as Europe severs energy ties with Russia.
    • Developing and implementing carbon capture technology to advance sustainability.
    • Planning and funding construction projects to expand U.S. energy export capacity.
  2. Increase alternative fuel domestic use and production. Ports can reduce emissions and increase energy security by utilizing LNG, propane, hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia in both land-side vehicles and marine vessels. The renewable fuels future is on the horizon, and we will get there by:

    • Investing in technology and infrastructure for next-gen shipping fuels. Ports will play a key role in the development of national hubs for hydrogen and other alternative fuels.
    • Making data-driven decisions about how we can most quickly get to net-zero through industry coordination and government support.
    • Supporting the establishment of green shipping corridors between ports in the United States and around the world.

  3. Enhance electric infrastructure at ports, including the installation of microgrid technology, local power generation, at-berth shore power, and electric vehicles. To replace gas-powered vehicles, ports will need infrastructure upgrades and financial incentives. Cleaner air and cleaner communities will follow. Working with policymakers, AAPA will encourage the Federal Government to:

    • Provide grants for electrification of port operations including for planning, microgrids, vessels, rail, and cargo-handling equipment.
    • Ensure fair dealing with legacy utilities, including the ability to ‘net meter’ or sell energy back into the grid.
    • Include ports in the transformative National Electric Vehicle Charging Plan.

  4. Strengthen energy and coastal resilience at ports. Ports are on the front lines of extreme weather and cybersecurity impacts to the global supply chain. Heat waves, hurricanes, rising seas, ice storms, and cyber events have impacted port operations in recent years. AAPA will work with policymakers to:

    • Ensure ports receive substantial assistance from the Government for supply chain resilience through the Department of Energy and through FEMA’s ‘BRIC’ program.

  5. Build physical and human infrastructure for wind energy. Wind energy-related leases, investments, and job creation are underway off American shores. Ports are the manufacturing and marshaling space for wind turbines and related equipment. Wind energy has the potential to not only power large swaths of our country but also provide renewable energy for alternative fuel production for zero-emission vessels. AAPA will work with policymakers to:

    • Continue funding for offshore wind marshaling infrastructure.
    • Support current and future wind energy job creation through initiatives such as AAPA’s ACCELerate Program.

AAPA POWERS Initiative Resources

Check out AAPA’s Fuels of the Future series:

AAPA Advocacy Update on H2 Hydrogen Hubs 
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes $8 billion in funding over five years for the new Hydrogen Hubs grant program, administered by the Department of Energy (DOE). Read about it in AAPA’s Advocacy Update.

AAPA Green Shipping Corridors Summary

The green corridor framework was formalized in the Clydebank Declaration, an international agreement established by the United Nations Climate Change Conference to promote the decarbonization of the global maritime shipping industry. Read more about it here.

Port Electrification Grant Program Letter
In August 2021, AAPA members signed onto this letter for Congress to support the inclusion of a port electrification grant program in Congress’ budget reconciliation legislation. This effort was successful in helping Congressional infrastructure investments. Efforts to turn this into law are ongoing.

AAPA Environmental Survey Results Graphic
This graphic shows some results from a 2021 AAPA study on the amount of green infrastructure projects at ports, as well as some statistics on the interest in, cost of, and challenges to building new projects.