As part of the tender process for the contract to build the ferries, the Government of Ontario has accepted Damen’s electrification proposal. As such, Damen is currently building a Road Ferry 6819, servicing Kingston and Wolfe Island, and a Road Ferry 9819, servicing Millhaven and Amherst Island (Loyalist Township).
It is estimated that electrification of the two ferries will reduce emissions by the equivalent of 7 million kg carbon dioxide per year. Investing in green technology is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity at a time of rapid economic change. Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Transportation, said:
This is great news for residents and commuters in this region, knowing they will soon be able to ride a ferry that is completely powered by electricity. Investing in innovative green technology is helping Ontario become a leader in North America for sustainable transportation and our government is committed to improving service, while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint.
The performance is expected not to be affected by electrification. The vessels' capacity to transport 300 passengers and 42 cars, and 399 passengers and 75 cars, respectively, at speeds up to 12 knots, remains the same as with conventional propulsion. Damen’s scope of work in the project includes the installation of an automated mooring system, as well as charging system via which the vessels will be automatically connected to the shore power system for recharging the batteries.
Electrification of maritime industry is considered considered an important step towards a zero-emission future, as it is expected to contribute to cutting emissions from fossil energy sources, especially for inland waterways. A side event on COP23 in November last year brought electric shipping in the spotlight, validating electrification has come, with new projects and technologies developed every day.