Utility partners with ferry on electrification project

The Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Co. plans to offer the first zero-emission short-hop ferry in California. Its electric utility has proven to be a willing partner.

The ferry company is working to electrify the 65-foot Angel Island, which is the largest in its fleet. It can accommodate 400 passengers and is typically used for ferry services in San Francisco Bay between Tiburon and Angel Island State Park.

California utility Pacific Gas & Energy (PG&E) will support the electrification project through its Electric Vehicle Fleet Program. 

The utility’s fleet program offers construction support and financial incentives for medium- and heavy-duty customers to make the switch to electric propulsion. The propulsion upgrades on Angel Island will take place at Green Yachts of San Rafael, Calif.

“We are very excited that Angel Island will be the first of the short-run ferries in California to be 100% zero-emission, as our company continues supporting the natural environment of the Bay and our beautiful state park,” Capt. Maggie McDonogh, the company’s fourth-generation owner, said in a statement.

“Getting adequate electricity to our ferry terminal is an essential part of this plan,” McDonogh continued. “We could not move forward with going electric without the important support we receive as a participant in PG&E’s EV Fleet Program.”

Electrifying vessels is no small task. It requires installing infrastructure dockside that allows for rapid charging, often in short increments between voyages. Graham Balch, managing broker of Green Yachts, said sufficient electricity supply is key to maritime electrification efforts. 

“An electric semi-truck requires 2 kWh to go one mile, and the Angel Island ferry requires 30 kWh to go one mile,” he said. “The increased energy requirement per mile shows the significant challenge associated with electrifying the marine sector.”