Ports are characterised by the geographical concentration of high–energy demand and supply activities, because of their proximity to power generation facilities and metropolitan regions, and their functions as central hubs in the transport of raw materials. In the last decades the need to better understand and monitor energy-related activities taking place near or within the port has become more apparent as a consequence of the growing relevance of energy trades, public environmental awareness and a bigger industry focus on energy efficiency. The uptake in the port sector of innovative technologies, such as onshore power supply, or alternative fuels, such as LNG, and the increasing development of renewable energy installations in port areas, also calls for more attention to energy matters within port management. So far, however, few port authorities have actively pursued energy management strategies. The necessity for port authorities to actively manage their energy flows stems from their efforts to plan, coordinate and facilitate the development of economic activities within the port, and as a consequence of the heavier weight that sustainability is given within the port management strategies. Through the analysis of the experiences of two European ports, Hamburg and Genoa, that have already attempted to coordinate and rationalise their energy needs, this paper will argue that for the ports of the future active energy management can offer substantial efficiency gains, can contribute to the development of new alternative revenue sources and in the end, improve the competitive position of the port.
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