LETTER: BC Ferries Transitions to a Low-Carbon Future

LETTER: BC Ferries Transitions to a Low-Carbon Future

Words from the president and CEO of BC Ferries

Reducing BC Ferries’ ecological footprint through continued investment in leading-edge environmental stewardship is a top priority as we build a ferry system for the future. Electric ferries is one way to do this, and BC Ferries’ Clean Technology Adoption Plan identifies additional ways to be a sustainable marine transportation provider.

RELATED: BC Ferries opens bidding process for five new vessels

BC Ferries already leads in North America when it comes to lowering emissions and adoption of clean marine technology. We were the first passenger ferry system in North America to adopt liquefied natural gas (LNG). Notable are the four, soon to be five, LNG-fuelled vessels in our fleet (Salish Class and Spirit Class) that substantially outperform diesel vessels for emissions and costs. We know natural gas is still a fossil fuel, but since it burns far cleaner than diesel, it is an ideal transition step to a zero emission future.

We currently have two Island Class 47-vehicle ferries under construction for our inter-island routes and we plan to build four more of these ships. These battery hybrid electric vessels will use some of the most advanced clean marine technology in the world. In the future, we intend to convert these ships to fully electric ferries when the shoreside technology is available and affordable.

We know that ferry users expect reliability, so we must also be realistic as we move along the path toward full electrification. There are real engineering, reliability and supply issues that must be solved. There is also the significant matter of affordability. Without significant external funding, as is the case in parts of Europe, BC Ferries and our customers carry the cost of funding clean tech. That’s why we are taking methodical and prudent steps as technology matures and costs stabilize.

RELATED: B.C. Ferries CEO says new reservation system will improve efficiency

At BC Ferries, we are ahead of the curve on clean technology adoption. Every day we study, engineer, invest and act. We are moving along a carefully structured path designed to protect coastal communities from unreasonable costs and unreliable technologies, while still bringing sustainability and cleaner operations to our coastal ferry system.

For more details about our Clean Technology Adoption Plan visit our website.

Mark Collins

President & CEO BC Ferries