Sunday, February 2, 2020

Transitioning off fossil fuel – step 1

First hybrid-electric ferry arrives in Victoria
Watercolour and oil pastel
Charlene Brown

BC Ferries have taken delivery of the first two of several hybrid-electric ferries that will go into service on some of the short runs between the mainland, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. They came from Romania via the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean and Panama Canal on a partially submersible transport vessel, then were towed under the Johnson Street Bridge into the Upper Harbour Shipyards where they will be prepped for service.

(Their working routes will not in fact take them under the Johnson Street bridge as shown in the painting above, which is based on a photo by Darren Stone of the Times Colonist newspaper.)

The new ferries are designed to be configured for full-electric operation, but until the infrastructure for on-shore charging is in place will operate on diesel-generated, battery-stored electricity. So, not a complete switch to clean energy, but one of many important first steps in transitioning to net zero emission of GHGs that we must accomplish by 2050.