FILE: WA Ferry

A ferry with a nearly empty car deck sails away from Seattle, Friday, April 10, 2020. The state ferry system continues to operate on a reduced winter sailing schedule due to people staying home in hopes of slowing the outbreak of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(The Center Square) – Norway-based Corvus Energy will be opening a battery manufacturing facility in Bellingham, Washington as part of a plan to expand its presence in the U.S. by meeting the growing demand for hybrid and zero-emission ships.

The new facility will be located in existing, unused manufacturing space at the Port of Bellingham. It will have an annual energy storage capacity of 200 megawatt hours in support of demand for marine battery energy storage systems in the Americas as the maritime industry looks to decarbonize. By way of comparison, one megawatt hour can power the average American home for 1.2 months.

The Corvus Orca Energy system, a maritime battery system used in 250 vessels and other applications around the world, will be produced at the site.

“We have seen a significant uptake in orders from the U.S. market as well as a growing commitment from the government and industry players on reducing GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions,” said Geir Bjørkeli, CEO of Corvus Energy, in a May 19 statement. “Increased capacity and production flexibility will be key to meeting anticipated growth. The US factory, along with a more robust sales and service organization, will ensure that we can meet American shipowner’s goals and market demand, providing better services to the U.S. maritime industry.”

Bjørkeli praised the Evergreen State as amenable to Corvus.

“Washington state was a natural choice for Corvus due to the presence of a strong maritime cluster, the state’s focus on green shipping, and the proximity to our large team near Vancouver, Canada,” he added. “We know that a U.S. presence and close collaboration with shipyards, shipowners, Washington Maritime Blue and other suppliers and service providers foster innovation across the entire industry and build valuable competence. This will work as an accelerator to create local, green jobs.”

According to a GeekWire report, Corvus expects to initially employ up to 20 people at the site, which should be open by the end of year.

Corvus Energy USA President Sveinung Ødegard said he expects “steady growth” once the facility is up and running.

There was strong support from officials in Washington, which is moving toward a fleet of green ferries, as evidenced by the multi-year transportation package that passed the Legislature this year, which includes $1.3 billion to purchase four hybrid-electric ferries.

“Congratulations to the Port of Bellingham and Corvus Energy on the new facility here in Washington. Corvus continues to thrive as a global leader in the sustainable transition of the maritime industry and I am pleased that they’ve chosen Washington as their first location in the U.S.,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “This is a great chapter in the ongoing partnership between Washington and Norway on combatting climate change and bringing to reality the green jobs of the future.”

“I am excited about this important partnership,” said state Sen. Simon Sefzik, R, Ferndale in an email to The Center Square. “This is a way for us to grow our economy, create jobs, and innovate our maritime industry.”

“I support all the measures which support continuum of replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy options,” said Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu. “Marine vessels are a significant users of fossil fuels and their transition to electric battery power is a welcome step.”

Originally published on thecentersquare.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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