On the eve of the international climate change summit, COP26, Wightlink pledged to further reduce its carbon emissions significantly over the next decade.
The ferry company that connects the Isle of Wight with the south coast already operates England’s first hybrid energy ship, Victoria of Wight. She entered service between Portsmouth and Fishbourne in 2018 and sails round-the-clock carrying passengers, cars and freight using a combination of conventional and battery power.
Victoria of Wight’s carbon emissions are 20% lower than a diesel-powered ship.
Now, Wightlink is drawing up specifications for its next new ferry on the route. Advances in sustainable technology mean it will be possible to commission a new ship that will use electric power from batteries to an even greater extent than at present by Victoria of Wight. Although there are still obstacles to be overcome, Wightlink hopes that shore power can be used to charge batteries, enabling full electric operation to become a reality.
It takes five years to draw up plans, seek tenders and build a new ferry for the busy Solent crossing.
“Our aim is to operate England’s first all-electric ferry,” explains Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “We are working with our naval architects and technology companies to come up with the best solution to operate ferries with the lowest possible impact on the environment.”
Since 2007, Wightlink has reduced its carbon footprint by 33%. Overall, the company has cut carbon emissions by 17% over the four years prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During COP26 (31 Oct – 12 Nov), Wightlink will feature in a UK Government video series about Climate Leaders. Senior Master Captain Sam Mitchell talks about how climate change is changing the world around us and how sustainable technologies, such as hybrid energy, can make a difference. See: www.wightlink.co.uk/newferry to view the video.