Washington State Ferries awards contract to convert largest vessels to hybrid-electric power

The ships will also undergo an upgrade to their aging propulsion control systems to extend their lifespan.

SEATTLE — Up to three of the largest Washington State Ferry (WSF) will be converted to hybrid power, with the first ship due to be completed next summer, according to the agency’s press release.

During the upgrade, the ships will also have their propulsion control systems updated to extend their lifespan. The age of some of the state’s ferries has caused ongoing problems for the agency that, along with staffing challenges, have caused ongoing disruption to sailing schedules over the past few years.

The project also aligns with the agency’s goal of zero emissions by 2050. WSF is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions of all public agencies, burning 19 million gallons of diesel fuel annually, according to the press release.

“This contract is a big step towards providing our ferry communities with better air quality and better air quality,” said Matt von Ruden, WSF system electrification program administrator. more sustainable services.

After the terminals are electrified by 2026, emissions from the three Jumbo Mark II trains, which are the largest emitters in the fleet, are expected to drop by 95 percent, Von Ruden said.

WSF awarded the contract to shipbuilder Vigor, which also performs defense and infrastructure contracts. The company’s bid for the state was $150 million — $30 million more than the state estimate. The contract is for the conversion of two ships for approximately $100 million with a fixed price option to update a third vessel in 2025.

Vigor will begin work on Wenatchee at the Harbor Island shipyard in September. The ship is expected to resume service on the Seattle/Bainbridge service next summer. Tacoma will be converted in 2024, with a third boat, Puyallup, set to continue in 2025.

WSF’s long-term plans include retrofitting six diesel ships to hybrid power, building 16 new hybrid ferries, decommissioning 13 diesel ships and adding charging power to 16 docks.

Edmuns DeMars

Edmund DeMarche is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmund DeMarche joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing edmund@ustimespost.com.

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