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B.C. Ferries seeking designs for electrical charging at terminals

Currently, B.C. Ferries’ six hybrid diesel-electric Island-class ferries operate mainly on diesel fuel, as terminals lack the charging infrastructure necessary to power their batteries.
Island Kuluta ferry
The B.C. Ferries vessel Island K'ulut'a, one of the six Island-class ferries. B.C. FERRIES

B.C. Ferries is looking for detailed engineering designs for some of its terminals in anticipation of electrification coming to its Island-class ferries.

The request for proposals was published Wednesday. It closes April 12.

B.C. Ferries’ six Island-class ferries are hybrid diesel-electric vessels. At this time, they operate mainly on diesel fuel because terminals lack charging infrastructure necessary to power their batteries.

The company is seeking designs for electrical charging and related infrastructure.

It wants design drawings and technical specifications for several disciplines such as marine structural, geotechnical, civil, electrical and mechanical.

These designs must come with cost estimates.

Work to electrify the ferries would involve four Island-class vessels running between Nanaimo and Gabriola Island and between Campbell River and Quadra Island.

In December, the company asked the B.C. Ferry Commission to approve spending for preparatory work needed to modify terminals for electrification. The company had hoped to obtain federal funds for electrification work at terminals but that has not materialized.

Commissioner Eva Hage and deputy commissioner Piet Langstraat approved the application in January. The value of the work was not made public.