Port of L.A. unveils environmental upgrade

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(CNS) – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Port of Los Angeles officials today unveiled an environmentally friendly makeover for the vessel “traffic control” facility at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

New solar panels and wind turbines will generate enough electricity to power the 24/7 operations at the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

Port of L.A. Executive Director Geraldine Knatz called the project “environmental stewardship at its best.”

The Marine Exchange facility uses radar, radio and computer systems to track nearly 5,000 boats and ships moving within 100 miles of San Pedro Bay, from San Diego to Port Hueneme. Public agencies and the private sector use the real-time data from the Marine Exchange for emergency search-and-rescue to long- term business planning.

Two hundred eighty-six solar panels and four wind turbines were added to the nonprofit organization’s facility to provide 87kW of electricity, enough to power the Marine Exchange’s vessel traffic service and to put some electricity back into the power grid.

The $450,000 project was funded by the Port of Los Angeles and the Department of Water and Power.  “With this project, the Marine Exchange gains its energy independence and Los Angeles takes another step forward to becoming one of the world’s cleanest big cities,” Villaraigosa said.

Capt. Richard McKenna, executive director of the Marine Exchange, described the facility as a modern-day lighthouse helping ships find their way safely. “With this project, we are also a figurative lighthouse helping to guide the way to cleaner, greener operations in the San Pedro Bay,” Mckenna said.

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