Carbon dioxide emissions from the fleet will be reduced by 90 per cent in the electrification programme
Public transport authority Skyss is to electrify 20 ferries in the Western Norway road network 2020, allowing it to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 per cent.
The region has invested over €400 million ($472 million) in the electrification programme, which will see the old diesel ferries on 17 ferry routes around the city of Bergen being replaced by 14 new and six retrofitted electric vessels. Charging infrastructure and power grid upgrades will also be installed onshore, partially funded by the Norwegian government through state-owned enterprise Enova SF.
Most of the electricity will be produced by hydropower, which produces no emissions. The new ferries will therefore produce 40,000 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, helping Norway to meet the United Nations goal of reducing climate emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.
“This is a large step for our region in reducing transport emissions,” said Målfrid Vik Sønstabø, director of Skyss. “Ferry traffic is traditionally a polluting mode of transport, and the car ferry network in Norway alone accounts for one per cent of the total Norwegian carbon dioxide emissions. The shift to electricity therefore makes a substantial difference.”
A large group of maritime companies have been involved in the construction. Havyard Group and its subsidiaries have been involved in the technological development of the electric ferries, producing ship design and delivering electric propulsion and control systems.
“The strict requirements for energy consumption in the tenders have led to a strengthening of technical expertise and development of tools in the ship design phase, and to world leading energy and control systems for zero-emission vessels based on battery operation,” said Gunnar Larsen, CEO of Havyard Group. “This will in turn be very useful in future projects with low- and zero emission vessels worldwide.”
Most of the ferries are being built outside Norway, some of them fully and others being towed to Norwegian shipyards to be outfitted. The new ferries are being put into operation as they are completed by the shipyards, with all charging infrastructure set to be completed by early 2021.
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