Smart City challenge


Narvik is the largest port in the Barents Region and an important maritime town in terms of tonnage. The heavy haul railway between Kiruna and Narvik transports large amounts of iron ore for shipping out of the port. A harbor pier built for cruise ships has recently been built and tourism coupled to cruise ships is growing rapidly in Narvik. Cruise ships used for accommodation is also a key solution in Narvik’s application for the alpine World Championships in 2027, which has high ambitions in terms of sustainability.

Problem roots:  Today sea transport is one of the major emission sources of greenhouse gases from within the geographical boundaries of Narvik municipality. It is also one of the main sources of emissions leading to poor air quality, with regular breaches of the emission limits set by the EU. Whereas the solutions for reduced emissions from road traffic are relatively easy to implement and the local stakeholders has some tools for doing so, the solutions for sea transport are less obvious and the local stakeholders have limited tools.

Main obstacles: Establishing shore power supply is a possible tool to address these issues. However, the cost for doing this is very high, especially the high voltage solutions necessary for cruise ships. Also, there are today a limited amount of ships that are adapted to use shore power supply, especially the bulk ships that make up most of the ships that come through Narvik. It is difficult for the port alone to push the big shipowners to adapt their ships to be able to use shore power. Another challenge is that of finding a viable business model for establishing shore power supply and running it, since the current business models used by ports and power companies are poorly suited for this relatively new market segment.

Existing solutions: As part of the Smart Narvik programme the port of Narvik and the local power company Nordkraft have started to discuss the key issues on establishing shore power supply. The surrounding power grid infrastructure is good and there is an abundance of available power in the grid. The port has also prepared the new cruise ship pier for installing shore power supply, with pipes for future power cables in the structure.

There are ongoing discussions with the main industrial actor in the port, the Swedish iron ore mining company LKAB. Although LKAB has no ships of their own and limited instruments for influencing the ship owners to convert their ships to using shore power they are looking at what they can do. There are also ongoing discussions with a company that specializes in building and operating shore power in ports, who sees Narvik as an interesting case but hasn’t yet identified a possible business model.

None of the cruise ships that are planned to arrive in Narvik during 2020 (28 ships in total) have technology for using shore power. From 2021 the ships belonging to Hurtigruten will have a hybrid propulsion system, combining LNG with batteries, and will be able to use shore power.

Narvik’s application for the alpine World Championships will be sent in May 2021 and the decision from International Ski Federation (FIS) on the host for the 2027 event will be announced in May 2022. Since the use of cruise ships for accommodation during the event, powered by shore power, is a key ingredient in the application it is necessary to have the details sorted out by the application period.

Mikael af Ekenstam
Senior Advisor Smart Cities & Communities
Smart Narvik/Smart Innovation Norway
What is the city looking for?

Currently the funding and finding the right business model for shore power are the key issues in the projects. New types of partnerships with Nordkraft and the Port of Narvik as the other partners is considered continuously.

Since the shore power installation should work for different types of ships using different parts of the harbor, technological solutions that are adapted for the port’s needs are also sought after. This includes solutions for supplying ships that have not been rebuilt with the purpose of using shore power.

Parallel to the process on establishing shore power there are also ongoing processes that aim to investigate how to establish infrastructure coupled to value chains of other energy carriers, such as LNG and hydrogen.

  • Do you have some relevant experience on how to use highly profiled events to initiate costly infrastructure projects?
  • Do you have some relevant investment and operational models for private-public partnerships, that target projects with high initial investment costs and with uncertain revenue streams?
  • Do you see some technical solutions that might reduce the need for installed capacity, and thus reduce investment costs?
  • Do you have some suggestions on how a relatively small port can incentivize large ship owners to convert their fleet to be able to use shore power (without reducing the attractiveness of the port)?
  • How do you think regulative processes and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions will play out and enable investments in shore power supply?
  • Do you see possibilities for funding shore power within the Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe programmes, or within other international funding programmes?
  • Do you have some suggestions on how the project of establishing shore power could have synergy effects with parallel projects on hydrogen and LNG infrastructure (without leading to high investment costs)?
  • Do you have any suggestions on how the local municipality can support the project of establishing shore power, other than financial support?
back to top