• Major Project

Ferry system electrification

Tokitae out on the harbor

Major Project overview

Washington State Ferries (WSF) is embarking on an ambitious initiative to begin the transition to an emission-free fleet through a hybrid electric ferry system. WSF operates the largest ferry system in the United States. It is also the biggest contributor or greenhouse gas emissions of any state agency in Washington, burning 19 million gallons of diesel fuel to support 24 million passengers every year.

This shift to hybrid electric ferries is in response to governor and legislative direction as well as alignment with the agency’s own long-range planning initiatives. To transition to a hybrid electric fleet, WSF is working on the three key elements of the electrification system – building new vessels, converting vessels, and electrifying the terminals.

Timeline overview

2020-2040

Major project status

Pre-Construction

Funding

$1.33 billion secured funding | $3.98 billion total estimated cost

Major project alerts

Through a competitive process completed in Nov. 2022, WSF selected Hill International, Inc. and its team to serve as the General Engineering Consultant (GEC) for the electrification program.
Contact
Suanne Pelley
Major Construction Communications Manager

Current and upcoming solicitations

Hybrid electric Olympic Class vessels

WSF will post a draft of the design-build Request for Proposal (RFP) for up to five HEOC vessels to the Washington State Ferries (WSF) contracting website as soon as it is ready for industry review. An email notice will be sent to “Interested Parties”. WSF will accept comments on the Draft RFP before issuing the final RFP in spring 2023. It is noteworthy that we have decided to implement a shore based charging system, which differs from the initial concepts discussed at Industry Day.

All parties who registered for the Oct. 6, 2022, Industry Day event are already on the Interested Parties list. Others who want to  be added to the interested parties list to receive notifications about the upcoming RFP, please email WSFelectrification@wsdot.wa.gov.

The Request for Information (RFI) for a new design-build contract for five hybrid electric Olympic class (HEOC) vessels is now closed, but can be viewed at the WSF contracting website.

WSF hosted an Industry Day for interested firms on Oct. 6, 2022, in advance of Request for Proposals (RFP). A recording of the presentation and the PowerPoint presentation can be viewed on the  WSF contracting website. All who registered for the Industry Day event are included in the “Interested Parties” list for the RFP.

Conversions of the Jumbo Mark II vessels

WSF will issue a Request for Information in February 2023 for industry review and comment before we solicit competitive bids in spring 2023 to convert the three Jumbo Mark II vessels to hybrid electric. Our team estimates that the converted Wenatchee will begin service in 2024, with conversions of the Tacoma and the Puyallup to follow

Winter 2023 electrification update

With funding secured from the 2022 Move Ahead Washington transportation package, and other previously secured funds, WSF now has $1.33 billion in funds to:

  • build up to five hybrid electric Olympic Class vessels;
  • complete up to four vessel conversions; and
  • bring power to terminals in central Puget Sound.

This investment is critical to the health and sustainability of the state’s ferry system.

Hybrid electric Olympic Class vessels

WSF will seek competitive bids through a Request for Proposals process to design and build up to five HEOC vessels. WSF launched this RFP process in summer 2022 and anticipates releasing the RFP in spring 2023 (see details above). We look forward to securing a partner to work on this exciting project and build up to five new hybrid electric vessels in the state of Washington as soon as possible. For these new vessels, WSF believes that this bidding opportunity, along with plans for 11 future vessels, will generate considerable interest from the maritime industry to build these vessels in Washington state.

Jumbo Mark II conversions

WSF will issue a Request for Information in February 2023 for industry review and comment before we solicit competitive bids in March 2023 to convert the three Jumbo Mark II vessels to hybrid electric. Our team estimates that the converted Wenatchee will begin service in 2024, with conversions of the Tacoma and the Puyallup to follow.

Terminal electrification

WSF continues to work with multiple utilities that provide electrical service to the terminals. In Sept. 2022, WSF and Seattle City Light signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding our upcoming work together to power Colman Dock for the hybrid electric vessels. WSF looks forward to establishing a similar partnership with Puget Sound Energy in the near future. Initial engineering and design are underway to build the necessary infrastructure to charge the vessels.

Additional resources

For a primer on WSF’s electrification efforts, please see this video:

 

For a more in-depth look at our ferry electrification efforts, watch the extended video.