b'Z ero emissions has become an ever-common long-term goal inmented by electricity from the grid, was the best solution from a fiscal the maritime industry. From shipbuilders to vessel operators,and environmental stand point.from engine manufacturers to naval architects, people are look-ing for and developing ways to be more environmentally friendly inThe Washington state legislature had set aggressive greenhouse gas every aspect of the passenger vessel industry. Its no small investment,reduction goals. Throughout the WSF chain of command, to the either of time or money, to make the changes that will have the mostgovernors office, to the Department of Ecology, there was building significant impact. An ideal time to embark on such an initiative mayexcitement about taking the fleet electric and there was tremendous be when vessels are aging out and plans tosupport for the effort. WSF incorporated replace them with new builds are started.electrificationintotheir20-year,long-There are many options to choose fromrange plan. The plan intrigued the legisla-when considering how to build a green- The fleet as a wholeture who gave them funding to prepare a er fleet. Washington State Ferries (WSF),thorough system electrification plan. The the largest ferry operator in the country,was aging. Today, ofnumbers spoke for themselves on the posi-has begun a program to make their entirethe 21 vessels, one istive impact it could make.fleet electric. We sat down with Matt von Ruden,thesystemelectrificationpro- over 60 years old andBack in 2015, WSF had pursued LNG as an gram administrator at WSF to learn moreinitiative for a mid-life renovation of some about what theyre doing, what it entails,a few others are nearlyof the fleets vessel. It was a significant proj-and what other operators can learn fromect and they werent able to secure funding. their undertaking. 55 years old. The teamNew options were considered and electrifica-tion rose to the top as it was being widely ad-In2017,WSFsJumboMarkIIships,initiated a study to opted elsewhere in the world. The distance the largest ships in the fleet, were nearingof the WSF routes are under an hour in du-their 20-year milestone and were facinglook at their optionsration and less than 15 miles, making electric equipment obsolescence issues. The fleetmoving forward. propulsion a good fit. Renewable energy is as a whole was aging. Today, of the 21also readily available through the states elec-vessels, one is over 60 years old and a fewtrical grid, with some utilities almost fully others are nearly 55 years old. The teamrenewable already. There was a sense of rel-initiated a study to look at their options moving forward. Energy stor- ative ease with electric as they wouldnt have to deal with energy storage age was being used to varying degrees within the industry and the teamsystems for options such as liquefied fuels which can be more complicat-considereditsuse.Workingwithconsultantsupport,thenumbersed. Half the fleet was already diesel-electric, so everything added up for showed that going all-in with hybrid battery diesel propulsion, aug- electric propulsion to be the right choice. PHOTO AND ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF WASHINGTON STATE FERRIESHybrid electric ferries reduce energy consumption, maintenance costs, and emissions.19 JULY 2022'