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£15m Funding Award for Electric Vessels in Orkney

Date: 11 September 2023

Orkney is set to benefit from a £15m funding award which will see two electric vessels running routes in the county over a three-year trial period.

The project will see a twelve-metre vessel operating a year round service around the inner North isles and another 24-metre vessel, for  passengers and light cargo, operating around Eday, Stronsay, Sanday and Westray  - with the intention of demonstrating and testing how this type of technology could be used in Orkney in the future.

Charging infrastructure will also be installed as part of the ‘Electric Orkney’ project – which will be a partnership between Orkney Islands Council, Artemis Technologies and EMEC.

It is expected that the 12-meter vessel will be delivered in March 2024, with the 24-meter vessel expected a year later.

The vessels will remain in the ownership of Orkney Ferries after the trial has completed.

The research and development funding has come from the £80m Zero Emission Vessel and Infrastructure fund (ZEVI) - which supports economic growth and looks to boost the UK’s decarbonisation efforts.

The announcement has been made at the start of London International Shipping Week, which is focusing on clean maritime and artificial intelligence to grow the UK’s maritime economy.

Council Leader James Stockan said. “Orkney is so often at the heart of the cutting edge of technology – and with this award we are placing ourselves at very centre of the latest developments in the maritime industry –  supporting our fragile remote island communities and creating opportunity from challenge.

“The funding announcement comes following a Herculean effort by our officers and I heartily congratulate them on their success.

“Whilst this is tremendous news, this latest development must not be confused with our drive to secure funding for replacement ferries. 

“This work is about looking at how we can, in the future, decarbonise our fleet – a key point of discussion with the Scottish Government.  Securing two vessels of this smaller size is the first stage in that process, allowing us to see how electric vessels might work, with a view to potentially upscaling in the future when further funding packages are in place.”

The Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) fund takes tech from the factory to the sea by supporting projects which have a long-term impact in reducing carbon emissions.

Successful projects must show they could use this money to work with major UK ports and operators to launch a zero-emission vessel by 2025 at the latest.

  • Summary:

    Orkney is set to benefit from a £15m funding award which will see two electric vessels running routes in the county over a three-year trial period.

  • Category:
    • Climate Aware
    • Community
    • Finance
    • Marine Services
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