• Major Project

Ferry system electrification

Tokitae out on the harbor

Major Project overview

Washington State Ferries (WSF) is undertaking an ambitious initiative to move toward a “greener” ferry fleet with the twin goals of reliability and lighter environmental footprint. In a typical year, WSF burns more than 18 million gallons of diesel fuel, making the system Washington state’s largest diesel consumer. WSF is working on several projects to meet the goals of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Executive Order 20-01, which directs WSF to move toward a zero emissions fleet. The three main capital components of the electrification plan are: building new Olympic class hybrid-electric vessels, converting the existing three Jumbo Mark II vessels to hybrid-electric vessels and developing terminal charging infrastructure.

Timeline overview

2020-2040

Major project status

Pre-Construction

Funding

$1.33 billion secured to date from grants and federal and state funds

Major project alerts

Contact
Suanne Pelley
Major Construction Communications Manager

Spring 2022 Electrification Update

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

  • build a total of five Hybrid-Electric Olympic Class (HEOC) 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. In the coming months, WSF will solicit for a General Engineering Consultant to support the electrification program in the areas of program management and preliminary engineering. This solicitation will be released in summer 2022.

Hybrid electric vessels

WSF has nearly completed the functional design for hybrid electric Olympic class, through a contract with Vigor ship builders. This design work will be the basis for construction of five new vessels, each with capacity for 144 vehicles. WSF will seek competitive bids to build the hybrid electric Olympic Class vessels. 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. WSF is poised to launch this Request for Proposal process in summer 2022. We look forward to securing a partner to work on this exciting project and build five new hybrid electric vessels in the state of Washington as soon as possible.

Jumbo Mark II conversions

WSF will solicit competitive bids in late 2022 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 service to the terminals. Initial engineering and design is underway to build the necessary infrastructure to charge the vessels

Video of our electrification efforts

Our new hybrid-electric vessel is just one element of our electrification efforts. Our plan to take the nation’s largest ferry fleet to emission free by the year 2050 is outlined in a video we produced for the American Society of Civil Engineer’s biennial International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure.

WSF Environmental Program Manager Kevin Bartoy
Chief Sustainability Officer Kevin Bartoy is one of several WSF
employees featured in a video about our journey to a zero-emissions fleet.