Recent years have witnessed the term ‘energy management’ increasingly being used within a wide spectrum of industrial sectors worldwide. According to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2017, Energy production and energy use accounts for two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To counteract, energy management and improving energy efficiency has gained a significant attention and is becoming a top priority, particularly after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in 2016. Ports can play an important role in reducing energy consumption thought operational, technological and managerial solutions. According to the International Energy Agency report in 2017,  the total world energy consumption will rise 28% by 2040, and ports as the main gateways between countries contribute notably to the high demand of energy. In response, resource management is becoming crucial for the sustainable development of ports and to reduce air emissions pollution.

The improvement of energy efficiency policies and strategies is one of the most cost-effective ways to currently improve the security of supply, reduce energy-related emissions. In addition, it assures the affordable energy prices, and improve economic competitiveness. For this purpose, the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED; Directive 2012/27/EU) entered into force on in 2012. The EED establishes a common framework of measures across the Member States to ensure the achievement of the EU’s 20% headline target on energy efficiency by 2020, and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond this date. The target is to enhance efficient use of energy in supply and demand side and explains requirements of energy audits and energy management systems. This covers both large as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Whilst large enterprises are required to be subject to an energy audit by 5 December 2015 and at least every four years thereafter.


To address the effect of climate change and to mitigate its impacts on societies, the measures such as legislation, voluntary procedures, and standard certification (ISO 50001, ISO 14001 as well as Energy Audit Schemes), have been introduced. Focused on energy management, the ISO 50001 certification was introduced in 2011 by the International Standard Organisation(ISO), as an efficient tool for Energy Managers that can deliver on the goal of reducing energy consumption e.g. by identifying gaps and also spotting the Energy Savings potentials.

The ISO 50001 certification system defines an Energy Management standard (EnMS) as a “set of interrelated or interactive elements to establish an energy policy, energy objectives, and processes and procedures to achieve those objectives” (ISO 50001, 2011). In compliance with the ISO 50001 standard, the structure of an EnMS can be divided into six phases (See below Figure) and their related elements.

Raising the environmental profile of European ports and promoting excellence in port environmental management and performance is one of the European Ports Policy’s key priorities. The need for well-connected port infrastructure, efficient and reliable port services and transparent port funding is profound. The European Sea Ports Organisation is the principal interface between European seaports and the European institutions and its policy-makers. Since 1996, it has been monitoring the main environmental concerns of European port authorities in Europe.Reducing the Energy Consumption” is the second biggest priority out of a list of 34 environmental issues for European Ports since 2016. The link between carbon footprint and climate change that has become an important driver of environmental and energy policies at ports over recent years.

This has led to 57% of the European ports to develop energy efficiency programmes. However, this percentage will likely increase, considering the focus that the EC on efficiently addressing port externalities as highlighted in the European Ports Policy.  Furthermore, the International standard ISO 50001 paving the way towards efficient port energy management. According to the ISO organization and European standards, ports are starting to develop energy management plans (EnMPs), either at a port authority or at a terminal operator level, as part of their overall “green” port policy (Boile, Theofanis, Sdoukopoulos, & Plytas, 2015).

In May 2014, the European Commission (EC) released its Energy Security Strategy in which it developed a set of short- and long-term measures in order to ensure a stable and abundant supply of energy for European citizens and the economy. the European Council endorsed 30% energy efficiency improvement targets (Boile et al, 2015). Ports are increasingly developing policies and practices to reduce the carbon footprint of the ports and their stakeholders. These strategies range from monitoring tools to investments in renewables and carbon-free energy, the development of visions to decarbonise the industry in the port.

Why is Energy Management important for EU Ports?

A Port Energy Management Plan (PEMP) is a crucial tool to address environmental objectives by structuring an in-detailed analysis of the current energy consumption in the port area and subsequently propose potential energy-saving solutions. The primary objective is to maximise the profit and to minimise the cost in a low-carbon economy systematic approach. In detail there are three groups of specific objectives to achieve  by Energy Management System application in EU Ports:

1- To meet the following  European Directives and strategies at local and regional levels:

  • Energy Efficiency Directive (EED; Directive 2012/27/EU)
  • Directive 2014/94/EU on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure
  • Europe 2020: A European Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth
  • European Energy Security Strategy, published in 2014 by EU Commission.

2- To address environmental concerns:

  • Reduction in energy consumption and consequently CO2 Emission from port activities.
  • Defining goals that result in the reduction of port-related Air Pollutant Emissions and the health cost on local communities in port-city
  • Raising the environmental profile/performance of ports and promoting innovation in sustainability.
  • To reduce the energy consumption and improve the air quality which is currently the top priority of EU Ports according to ESPO 2016 Report.
  • Improving environmental, energy and port performance in a systematic and standardised approach.
  • Future proofing against the effects of climate change.

3- To support the port sustainable growth through:

  • Reduced energy consumption bills and its related cost savings.
  • Reduction in Capital investments to meet the growing energy demand in the future.
  • Improvement in the competitiveness through reduction of operational costs and increased supply reliability.
  • Being cost-effective with environmental regulations.
  • The increase of efficiency and port performance.
  • Improving port’s market position.

The energy management framework helps the Port Authorities to establish systemic energy management and to make all energy-related processes more efficient.  It facilitates the documentation of all energy consumption and the reveal the potential for saving energy.  It will lead to economically, environmentally and socially sustainable port that is well aligned with all local, national and European policies. Within this process, the active participation of all key port community stakeholders and use of best practices in energy policies are the important prerequisites. Finally, through the port’s energy management system, goals will be set to address the follows :

Resiliency: ability to sustain business continuity during a power outage and resume operations after a catastrophic event.

Availability: access to energy sources that are required in order to meet present and future power demand of port operations through energy generation, transmission and distribution.

Reliability: availability of high quality and consistent energy able to meet predicted peaks in demand.

Efficiency: reductions in energy demand through management practices and technologies that maximize operational productivity and cost-effectiveness.

Sustainability: integration of energy efficient practices and renewable power generation to minimize the depletion of natural resources.

Author: Reza Karimpour