Last month BC Ferries announced plans to have up to 6 hybrid-electric vessels in their fleet by 2022, with the first arriving next year. This week, they officially awarded the construction contract to the Netherlands based Damen Shipyards Group.
The project, budgeted at around $200 million, calls for 4 hybrid-electric Island Class vessels to be completed and in service by 2022. The first two Island Class vessels, set to be in the water by mid-2020, will travel between Powell River and Texada Island and Port McNeill and Alert Bay – Sointula Island.
The third and fourth Island Class vessels will travel between Campbell River and Quadra Island, with the fifth and sixth hybrid-electric ships serving Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island by 2022. The ferries will initially use diesel fuel, but they are designed to be solely electric once the on-shore infrastructure is in place.
“Our Clean Futures Plan spells out our strategy to reduce GHG emissions by replacing our legacy carbon intensive fossil fuelled vessels with ships using clean energy,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, vice president of business development and innovation with BC Ferries. “These next four Island Class ships are a major step in our plan to progressively lower emissions across the fleet and be a leader in the energy transition to a lower carbon future.”
BC Ferries has already invested more than $500 million in low-carbon technologies, with the eventual goal of a future where the company has a net zero carbon footprint.