San Francisco Bay Ferry Wins $16 Million Grant to Push Fleet Electrification Plan Forward

SAN FRANCISCO | November 30, 2023 – The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the agency that provides San Francisco Bay Ferry service, today announced it was awarded a $16 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to charge up its Rapid Electric Emission-Free (REEF) Ferry Program, a transformative suite of projects to transition its fleet to zero-emission propulsion technology.

The grant will fund the electrification of four ferry floats at the Alameda Seaplane, Downtown San Francisco and Main Street Alameda ferry terminals. The float electrification project involves structural modification to the passenger floats, procurement and installation of battery banks, grid connections and installation of vessel charging equipment.

The announcement of this grant and others for ferry operators across the nation was made by FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in San Francisco.

“Today’s announcement represents our continued record support under the Biden-Harris Administration for passenger ferry service,” FTA Administrator Fernandez said. “The grants help transit agencies make investments to increase reliability, improve connections to other modes of transportation, and bring older ferry systems into a state of good repair.”

This grant is a major step in WETA’s quest to bring the nation’s first high-speed, high-capacity zero-emission ferry service to the Bay Area.

“San Francisco continues to lead the way in addressing climate change through our commitment to working together,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “Thanks to the FTA and WETA, not only will the implementation of the transbay electric ferry service strengthen our City’s 2040 net-zero emission goal by taking a significant step forward, but it will also improve regional transit experiences through increased passenger capacity and efficiency.”

Additional funding for the float electrification project will come from Regional Measure 1 bridge tolls and Alameda County’s transportation sales tax, Measure BB.  With this grant award, funding for the electrification of all three floats at the Downtown S.F. Ferry Terminal has been secured.
WETA has now secured roughly $117 million in funding from local, state and federal agencies to implement its REEF Ferry Program. This includes state and federal funding for system planning, new battery-electric vessels and shoreside infrastructure.

“We’re entering a second golden age of ferries here in the Bay Area, and I’m proud that WETA is leading the global effort to decarbonize the industry,” said Monique Moyer, Vice Chair of the WETA Board of Directors. “The Biden-Harris Administration continues to invest in America’s green future, and this grant is transformative for our local efforts to reduce pollution while providing an amazing transit experience.”

WETA has selected Wärtsilä, a global leader in power, propulsion and lifecycle solutions for the marine market, as its electrification systems integrator for the REEF Ferry Program, ensuring technology and equipment used for the battery-electric vessels and infrastructure work seamlessly together to maximize system flexibility, resilience and cost-effectiveness.

Elliott Bay Design Group, based in Seattle, has been selected as the design and construction management firm for a set of new 300-passenger battery-electric vessels. Aurora Marine Design, based in San Diego, will serve that role for a class of smaller battery-electric vessels to serve the San Francisco waterfront, including Mission Bay and Treasure Island, as well as consult on the overall zero-emission system architecture.

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