Change is in the air people, change that Alaska needs to seriously be considering. Granted, Ellen’s primary route is only 22 nautical miles in length, but even this miraculous reality seemed a pipe dream just years ago. We’re not far away from all electric ferries cleanly and quietly traveling from Juneau to Skagway, Ketchikan to POW, Cordova to Whittier….its all just a matter of choosing to look forward, or look back. to view the world with eyes wide open, or to keep the blinders on and stumble ahead, to plan with vision or piss away the budget on poorly vetted ‘solutions’.
Ellen, Denmark’s first all-electric ferry, has completed its first 10 month of revenue service. Passengers like its silent running and absence of diesel fumes. The operator likes that it costs less to run than a diesel-powered ferry.
Investment costs are still somewhat higher for an electric ferry, but the savings in operation offsets investment costs after 4-8 years, depending on the conditions, technical and regulatory, that apply to the route.
As the lifespan of a ferry is typically around 30 years, an operator can therefore look forward to significant savings after a few years of operation. Contributing to the startling figures are the declining prices of e-technology, not least the battery prices, which have been declining rapidly in recent years, while the energy density of the batteries has increased steadily.