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Auckland Leads in Clean Marine Technology with Electric Ferries

Auckland is New Zealand’s most populous city edging out even the capital Wellington. Now, it’s once again leading the way in clean energy with its two electric marine vehicles for the public. Auckland harbour ferries are set to get quieter, cleaner and greener, thanks to two new fully-electric ferries for commuters and sightseers to travel on, Minister for Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods announced recently.

Auckland Transport will operate the two electric fast ferries across all major inner and mid-harbour services, and the new ferries will provide a pathway for further ferry electrification in the future.

Today’s ferries contribute about 20% of Auckland’s public transport emissions. These electric ferries promise to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with each electric ferry displacing approximately 1000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

– Dr Megan Woods, Minister for Energy and Resources

Moreover, the minister detailed this project will be a major boost to the rapidly developing maritime clean technology sector in New Zealand and will further upskill the maritime transport sector in New Zealand. Plus, this is a boost for our climate goals and our economy, which is especially vital as the country continues our economic recovery from Covid-19.

Further, she stressed the government’s commitment to supporting low-emission transport options. She disclosed how much the government has invested significantly in on-road electric vehicles and has pledged to decarbonise the public transport bus fleet. It’s but natural that electrifying water transport happens, Woods affirmed. As such, she is looking forward to boarding one of Auckland’s first electric ferries once they hit the harbour, the energy minister detailed.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said that with the announcement the Government had taken another important step on the journey to a low emissions future. It’s but timely for Auckland as a harbour city. Getting around by ferry is the norm for many thousands of Aucklanders. Shaw elaborated that today’s announcement means that instead of fossil fuels powering many of those journeys, people will be getting around in ways that help create a climate-friendly, prosperous future for New Zealand.

In the near future, the Emissions Reduction Plan will include many more initiatives to cut emissions from transport so that more people across New Zealand have access to low carbon ways of getting around, Shaw added.

However, the ferries are still on the drawing board. They are expected to launch in 2024. The project itself will be led by council-controlled Auckland Transport which has received a $27 million grant funding from the Government to pay approximately 75% of the costs of constructing two new electric ferries.

Auckland Transport will own and operate the two electric ferries. Per the report, the ferries can reach a top speed of 25 knots (on par with today’s diesel ferries) with a range of 40km. As for the funding, it comes from the Infrastructure Reference Group’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Approaching digital transformation with clean energy is a wise choice. It means that a country such as New Zealand is after the planet’s welfare in the long term.


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