VIDEO: Shipyard bid request marks new WSF electrification milestone

Written by Marine Log Staff
WSF electrification

WSF’s System electrification program administrator Matt von Ruden speaks about the design of the new vessels during a media event with the state legislature’s transportation committee chairs, Sen. Marko Liias and Rep. Jake Fey.

Washington State Ferries (WSF) has taken another big step forward in its electrification plans. It has now invited shipyards from across the U.S. to bid on building five new hybrid-electric ferries, each capable of carrying 160 vehicles .

As readers who have been following the WSF electrification story know, WSF has been unable to agree a shipyard contract to build the hybrid vessels in state, as was previously a required under state law. However, last year , the state legislature passed a law that allows Washington State Department of Transportation to solicit shipbuilders nationwide (instead of just in Washington state) and to build vessels concurrently at one or two shipyards.

WSF’s last vessels constructed out of state were delivered in 1967.

Under the new contracting approach, two ferries could be delivered in 2028, two more in 2029 and the final vessel in 2030 (subject to final bid prices and available funding). These boats are expected to support WSF’s Mukilteo/Clinton and Seattle/Bremerton routes.

WSDOT assistant secretary Steve Nevey, the head of Washington State Ferries, notes that aside from greatly lowering emissions [the main driver of the electrification project], the hybrid-electric vessels will benefit WSF employees. Crews in Europe operating similar ferries report that the reduced noise and vibrations make these ferries easier on their bodies, resulting in less fatigue. This noise reduction also helps with the health of marine mammals, including Southern Resident killer whales.

“We are actively exploring ways to use these quieter machinery plants with more efficient propeller designs for our ferries to reduce underwater noise” says Nevey.

You can see the bid package HERE

More in this video of WSF’s media briefing:

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