Time is now for SSA to think electrification


To the Editor:

With appreciation for Rob Hannemann’s commentary on the need for an electrification master plan for the Steamship Authority, the SSA seems to be missing an opportunity to think more carefully, and planning ahead already now, for future space needs for infrastructure for electrification of its ferry and bus fleets at its terminals.

Those space considerations include the land-based infrastructure that hybrid electric boats will inevitably require at Woods Hole terminal.

Planning for electrification should already be taking place today, while reconstruction of the land-based component of the Woods Hole terminal is not yet set in stone.

As an example of what space may be required for terminal infrastructure and electrification, please see Washington State Ferries’ plan for electrification of its terminals in its report “Washington State Ferries System Electrification Plan,” December 2020.

SSA managers could also be thinking about what space may be needed for wireless undercarriage charging of SSA buses (assuming inductive charging will be used at Woods Hole terminal). The complex process through which the Vineyard Transit Authority has had to step related to the Church Street project in Edgartown provides ample evidence of the value of planning ahead for electrification needs.

The SSA terminal design has been described to us as a 50-year solution. Electrification of more and more SSA operations will emerge sooner rather than later in the coming 50 years.

Nat Trumbull
Woods Hole