B.C. Ferries has won approval to start preparation work to modify terminals in anticipation of installing on-shore charging systems for battery powered Island class ferries.
Work would be undertaken on the routes linking Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island and between Campbell River and Quadra Island. Island-class ferries are now operating as diesel-electric hybrids. There is room on board for them to be converted to fully electric power if the charging systems are installed.
The plan was approved in December by the B.C. Ferries commissioner, following an application by B.C. Ferry Services, which operates the system.
The project is expected to start before B.C. Ferries submits another application to the commissioner in the coming months for a major capital expenditure to support electrified vessels on the two routes.
B.C. Ferry Services is taking a prudent, pragmatic and reasoned approach, the decision said. Electrification will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The project amount, which was not released publicly, is modest, relative to the overall cost of electrifying Island class vessels, it said.