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Ontario to electrify two island ferries

Wolfe Island ferry loading, Ontario. CC-BY-SA Flibirigit

The Lake Ontario ferries are expected to be operational in early 2020 for Amherst Island and early 2021 at Wolfe Island

In November 2017, the Canadian province of Ontario awarded a design-build contract for two large ferries to support transportation to and from the Wolfe and Amherst Islands, east of Toronto on Lake Ontario.

The new Wolfe Island ferry will carry a maximum of 399 passengers and 75 vehicles, while the new Amherst Island ferry will carry up to 300 passengers and 40 vehicles. The vessels will feature loading areas to separate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicles as well as improved safety, accessibility and sustainability features.

The all-electric ferries are jointly funded by the Government of Canada and Ontario with investments of C$94 million and C$31,271,905 respectively.  The funding is made through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects (PTIC-NRP) of the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF).

On March 20 boat builder Damen announced that its proposal designs for the two vessels had been accepted. The company will now build Road Ferry 6819 and a Road Ferry 9819 (68 metres and 98 metres respectively) to serve the two routes.

The scope of work in the project includes the installation of an automated mooring system, as well as charging system via which the vessels will be automatically connected to the shore power system for recharging.  Damen has not stated the battery capacity of each vessel.

Electrification will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 7,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, compared with conventional diesel ferries, the parties said. Over the 60 year lifespan of the ferries, Ontario will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 446,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The Wolfe Islander III will remain in service together with the new electric Wolfe Island vessel, to help speed up the movement of people and goods during peak season. Details of the service to Wolfe Island are being developed with input from ferry users.

Ferries transport approximately 900,000 passengers and 400,000 vehicles between Wolfe Island and Kingston each year, and approximately 300,000 passengers and 145,000 vehicles to and from Amherst Island annually.


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