As Guelph commits to 65 new all‑electric buses, Toronto is going the opposite direction – purchasing new Island ferries that will be powered by FILTHY FOSSIL FUEL.
City Council is considering its budget this month. Deep in the budget documents is this:
Full electrification of the vessels would be ideal from an emissions stand point, but the significant capital infrastructure costs and challenges make this option infeasible at this time. The City will continue to explore electric propulsion in the future as costs decrease and as the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal is updated. As such, vessels will be designed in a manner to allow for future electrification if and when possible.
The climate crisis demands that immediate action be taken to drastically reduce our carbon emissions. Even the participants in the upcoming Davos World Economic Forum have identified climate action failure as the risk with the greatest impact on the global economy.
Last fall, Toronto City Council unanimously declared a climate emergency (in a motion co-sponsored by Mayor Tory and Councillor Mike Layton).
It must now take the actions that that emergency requires.
As Councillor Layton told City Council last fall in the debate on that motion, “if we don’t do more, faster, this is going to go beyond mere convenience to a catastrophe.”
Ensuring our Island ferries are all‑electric is an important, and essential, step to addressing that emergency.
ACTION: Tell your Councillor, and the Mayor, that they can, and must do more, faster, and ensure that the Island ferries are electric.
On ferries, like most other climate initiatives, the Europeans are far ahead of us:
- Europe set up E‑ferry in 2015 to explore the concept:
E-ferry is a new project supported by the European initiative H2020 involving the design, building and demonstration of a fully electric powered ‘green’ ferry which can sail without polluting and CO2 emissions. It promotes energy efficient, zero GHG emission and air pollution, free waterborne transportation for island communities, coastal zones and inland waterways in Europe and beyond.
- As of 2018, Norway had two fully operational electric-powered ferries. But another 10 were christened that year, 60 by 2021, and by 2023 the country’s entire ferry fleet will either be all-electric or, for the longer routes, equipped with hybrid technology, experts say: https://e360.yale.edu/features/europe-takes-first-steps-in-electrifying-worlds-shipping-fleets.
- Amsterdam is introducing fully electric ferries: https://www.swzmaritime.nl/news/2018/01/25/c-job-designs-fully-electric-ferries-for-the-city-of-amsterdam/?gdpr=accept
It requires all commercial ships to be zero-emissions on its canals by 2020 or 2025, depending on its size: https://www.idtechex.com/en/research-report/electric-and-hybrid-boats-and-ships-2019-2029/648
Washington state is introducing electric ferries:
“in line with Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s mandate to strive for zero emissions, it is now moving ahead with an electrification effort which will likely see Washington commuters riding some variation on an electric-powered ferry “in the next couple of years.”
“Ian Sterling also made the case that the agency was not making the move “just because the governor said[to do]
it” but that “This is a good idea because it quiets the boats [while] obviously removing tons of diesel fuel emissions.
“But even if you’re not an environmentalist, this is a good idea for the taxpayer because we expect it to pay for itself relatively quickly, based on the price of fuel. It saves millions of dollars annually.” [from https://thedriven.io/2019/12/02/worlds-second-largest-ferry-operator-to-make-switch-to-electric/]
Wolfe Island is getting an electric ferry from Kingston, being built now in Romania: https://www.damen.com/en/blog
And even Ports Toronto is converting the Island Airport ferry to electric: https://www.cp24.com/news/electric-ferry-coming-to-island-airport-1.4706756