b'Right fit or not, undertaking a project of this scope is no small featmuch the same from the customers perspective. The ships are expected FOGHORN FOCUS and requires significant financial investment. In recent years, WSF hadto handle and maneuver like the vessels being replaced, so there will be been strapped for funding simply for carrying out preservation efforts,a familiarity for the operator as well. However, the new ferries will be so such a major initiative may have seemed unlikely. However, thingselectric with two propulsion generators and two battery banks, offering began to come together for the project. One of biggest milestones wasa higher level of redundancy than the current Olympic-class vessels.the Volkswagen mitigation funds. In Washington state, these were man-aged by the Department of Ecology which set up a grant program toGoing electric may mean not having to truck in fuel, but getting the distribute funding to various sectors. Given the large maritime footprintpower to the ships terminals is based on infrastructure that doesnt yet in the state, this industry was a major focus. WSF received $35 million toexist. Not only is the fleet large, but ferries are massive and have equal-support retrofitting a set of the ferries fromly high power needs. WSF needs to maintain diesel to electric power. They also workedtheir current route schedules which mean a to have their Seattle-Bainbridge route des- dwell time of around 20 minutes while pas-ignated as a marine highway which madeGoing electric maysengers disembark and new customers board. them eligible for certain federal grants. Theymean not havingIn that time, theyll have to charge the ferry received $1.03 billion from the 2022 Movebatteries which equates to a high voltage of Ahead Washington transportation packageto truck in fuel,12.5 kilovolts, and they have to do it safely. for four additional new hybrid-electric ves- This means a rapid charging system must be sels.Theyvesecuredadditionalfundingbut getting theinplace.Eachterminalisuniquehowever, to proceed with the conversion of existingwith its own geography, depth of water, and vessels and for electrifying their terminals.power to the shipsproximity to a substation. WSF was lucky as Seattle was already in the process of major The first step in their plan is the conversionterminals is based onconstruction along the downtown waterfront of three Jumbo Mark II vessels to hybrida few years ago. They were able to secure co-electric power. I asked what this entails andinfrastructure thatoperation to simultaneously bring electricity if it will effect the number of passengersdoesnt yet exist. to the terminal at that time. In order to meet they can serve. For their feasibility studiesthe demands of charging two ferries at the in 2017, they engaged the original propul- terminal at the same time, they will need an sion system designer. The original design ofenergy storage system. Their local utility pro-the vessels in the late 90s was innovative for its time with four locomo- vider won a grant to start building a battery system near the terminal tive-size diesel engines driving alternators with electric motors on eachthat could meet the energy demands. At each terminal theyll need assess end of the double-ended ferries. Needing only two motors at any givenwhats involved in getting power to the dock, if storage is needed, and time, this set up offered necessary redundancy. In order to convert thecollaborating with partners on how to make it all happen.vessels, they plan to remove two diesel engines and install two battery banks in their footprint. Theyll take advantage of underutilized space,For most electric ferries found in Europe, a charging arm extends from the shaft alley, at either end of the vessel for battery compartments andthe dock as the vessel is secured into the slip so that it can charge during charging systems. This gives them the same level of redundancy as beforepassenger turn over. However, most of those ships, unlike WSF vessels, and they expect to lose only one or two parking spaces.are not double-ended. Washington State Ferries wanted to minimize over-water construction and the associated impact on marine life and New ships will be key in the electrification of the fleet. Theyll start withwanted to avoid building a large platform. It was also important to not five new variations on their Olympic-class vessels which will look prettyobstruct the vehicle lanes on the ferry and dock. They flipped things ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF WASHINGTON STATE FERRIESTerminal improvements (terminal electrification) and vessel improvements (vessel construction and conversion) will be required to electrify the ferry system.FOGHORN 20'