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Electric Ferries

Advocate for Ferry Electrification!

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OPALCO is calling for deployment of new, cleaner, quieter and super-efficient electric-hybrid ferries to the San Juan Islands routes to protect critical species in the Salish Sea.

The Salish Sea Can't Wait

Why is ferry electrification so important?

The current WSF plan puts the San Juan routes last on the list. Why lose decades in our efforts to fight climate change in our sensitive marine environment?

Carbon pollution impacts our sensitive marine environment through acidification, warming air and water temperatures and changes to shoreline health and levels. Ferries make up 63% of the carbon emissions from the Washington State Transportation Fleet. The number of species that are affected in this critical area of the Salish Sea area is remarkably concentrated and diverse: humans, Orca whales, salmon, oysters, clams, bait fish, near shore eelgrass and kelp beds, birds, otters, seals, sea lions, invertebrates, and myriad other fish and mammal species.

In addition to carbon (and other contaminant) pollution, vessel noise has been identified as a major barrier to the health and survival of our Southern Resident Orca Whales. The Governor’s 2019-2021 budget initiative states: “The frequent daily transits of Washington state ferries are a significant contributor to underwater noise in Puget Sound.”

What is OPALCO doing?

OPALCO is committed to modernizing the infrastructure at our island ferry landings to make it easy and cost-effective for WSF ferries to charge while docked in San Juan County. Using a Clean Energy Fund grant from the Washington Department of Commerce, the early design work is already in progress for a ferry charging station at the Port of Friday Harbor. Staff are working to garner grants to pay for the upgrades and are designing the infrastructure in parallel with energy storage projects that can help reduce peak charges during the high-demand events when a ferry is plugged in.

Learn More

Please stay informed about ferry electrification and advocate with your elected officials

Editorial: Electrify San Juan Islands FIRST!

The current WSF long range plan for deploying electric ferries appears to put San Juan County routes last on the list – as much as 20 years out . . .

Read the full editorial

 

OPALCO Letter to WSF (2019)

Dear WSF: Please reconsider the WSF plan for deploying  electric ferries and start with the San Juan Islands routes. Please give our communities the reliable electrified ferry service that is appropriate for our sensitive marine environment . . .

Read the full letter

Get Active

  • Friends of the San Juans
  • SeaDoc Society
  • Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
  • City of Anacortes
  • Swinomish Tribal Community
  • San Juan Community Home Trust
  • The Whale Museum
  • Lincoln Bormann
  • San Juan Islands Electric Vehicle Association
  • San Juan Island Energy Round Table
  • OPALCO Board of Directors
  • San Juan Islands Conservation District
  • Economic Development Council
  • San Juan County Preservation Trust
  • OPALCO Community Land Trust
  • Orcas Island Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
  • Ken Carrasco
  • Wally Gudgell

Legislative hotline: 1.800.562.6000 Contacts for current serving legislators can be found at www.leg.wa.gov/legislature/ Addresses for national representatives and senators can be found at this site also.

Rep. Alex Ramel 
132D Legislative Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 786 – 7970
Alex.Ramel@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Debra Lekanoff
422 John L. O’Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 786 – 7800
Debra.Lekanoff@leg.wa.gov

Sen. Liz Lovelett
215 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40440
Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 786 – 7678
Liz.Lovelett@leg.wa.gov