Norway’s shipping goes electric
Norway in a few words: water, shipping, fjords, the northern lights, oil. You can weave a nice story from these elements, of diesel-powered ships, for example, that pollute the air along this Scandinavian kingdom’s magnificent coastline. As well as congesting the fjords and fogging up views of the glaciers and the northern lights. But not to worry, there is a happy end: electrically powered ships are the answer and their deployment across the board is at hand.
The Norwegian Transport Agency is applying massive pressure here. Ferries, one of Norway’s most vital means of transport, especially in areas close to the coast, are soon to become climate-neutral in the way they operate. And even large container ships can be fitted with the option of electric power when close to the shore, on entering and leaving port and while berthed at the quay.
Batteries for performance peaks
The process of gradually electrifying shipping is already far advanced. The generation and transmission of energy have long since been decoupled. The idea that the ship’s propeller is moved by a shaft that in turn is driven by a diesel engine, is no longer up with the times. Modern ships are fitted with an electrical control room which can be operated with different kinds of power — with natural gas, a classical diesel engine or even with electricity. As a result, batteries on board can kill several birds with one stone. They can be switched on when peaks in performance are required, and at the same time they serve to store power when the diesel engine is running.
The Norwegian shipping company “Hurtigruten” which offers expeditions as far up as the Lofoten Islands, has already ordered two ships with hybrid drives and has even taken a 40 percent stake in the Kleven shipyard. Incidentally, the energy required for electromobility is generated from one commodity that is in abundant supply in Norway: hydropower.