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Norway’s electric ferries come with a cost

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Paal Kvamme/Invest in Norway

‘Pioneer’ county spends €62 million a year on their upkeep

It is expensive for Hordaland, a western country in Norway that features the city of Bergen among its many attractive destinations, to be a pioneer in electric ferries. It spends NOK 600 million (€62 million) per year on maintaining the service.

Hordaland Municipality is aiming for all of its 17 ferries to be operated electrically by 2020. But each year it has to spend NOK 600 million on them from its annual budget, the newspaper Klassekampen reports – double the amount it spent on the old diesel ferries.

The biggest reason for this is the cost of building the ferries, as well as the pricey new equipment that has to be installed on the docks, reaching a total of NOK 420 million.

“Right to be visionary”
The county insists that the environmental gains make the project worthwhile.

“The environmental results since the conversion have been even better than expected when we decided to invest in low-emission transport,” claims Pål Kårbø of the Kristelig Folkeparti (Christian Democratic Party) who has overseen the project. “It appears that it was right for us to be visionary and not just think of costs.”

Kårbø thinks it is important that the electrification of ferries continues and is not halted due to costs, and he hopes the state can help. But Minister of Transport Ketil Solvik-Olsen, who is from an opposing political party, says there are no additional subsidies for counties who opt for environmentally friendly transport.

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