LETTER: Electrify new ferry

From the Nelson-Creston Green Party Riding Association

We see the Ministry of Transportation has changed the date for full electric propulsion of the new Kootenay Lake ferry to 2030 from 2040, but we still find this completely unacceptable, in light of the dire climate crisis we are now in. How many thousands of tons of GHG will be emitted by the diesel motors between installation in 2022 and 2030?

We have such an opportunity here to mitigate those emissions by starting out as a fully electric ferry. We have the technology now, and in fact at Corvus Energy, right here in BC. Have our government marine engineers taken the trouble to travel to Norway to see the new electric ferries in action (for several years now) and talk with engineers there about any problems? They are using electric ferries in Finland, Sweden and Ontario already. We already have prototypes to follow; we just need the will.

BBC News reports that operating costs of electric ferries are one-quarter diesel’s costs, and electric motors need minimal maintenance.

The ministry also mentions doing “incremental improvements” and “a long-term, systematic approach to electrification.” We do not have a long-term anymore in which to act, to mitigate the climate emergency. And any expense imposed now for electric ferries will pale in comparison to the massive expenses we are going to incur with the increasing extreme weather events now occurring and prognosticated to come.

In fact, the UN’s annual emissions report released in November states that we are on track for 3.2 degrees of warming if we continue as we are, and we will have an unlivable planet.

And it states the world is not doing enough, that we must transition off fossil fuels as fast as possible.

We hope the ministry will reconsider its configuration of this new vessel to a 100 per cent electric ferry, and use the opportunity to have a prototype for the other inland ferries.

Mary Donald

Nelson-Creston Green Party Riding Association

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