Plymouth hosts UK’s first charging network for electric maritime vessels

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A consortium of city partners is joining forces to create Plymouth’s Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL), which will provide charging infrastructure for the UK’s first marine electric passenger ferry and an electric water taxi.

The project has received more than £570,000 funding as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and is delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

The chargers will power the Mountbatten ferry service which switched to electric in February

It will develop a network of charging facilities around Plymouth Sound, offering multiple sites. Between now and next March, it will identify suitable locations for charging facilities that can be easily linked to the national grid, while meeting both consumer and commercial demand.

It will also develop and deploy an array of sensor technologies that can assess the environmental and operational impacts of e-charging.

Councillor Jonathan Drean, cabinet member for transport at Plymouth City Council, said: “This is a big deal – not just for the council and its partners – but for our sizable maritime community from weekend anglers to the fishing crews, who I hope will be looking at this with real interest.

The UK’s first sea-going electric ferry E-Voyager launched in October last year

“We need to plan for a future that is less reliant on fossil fuels and our marine sector can play a key role in ensuring a greener future. This exciting project fits in so well with so many of our city aspirations to tackle climate change through our Climate Emergency Action Plan but to also encourage more people to enjoy the waters around Plymouth, through our National Marine Park status,” Drean continued.

“It’s also putting Plymouth’s name out there as a city that’s innovative, that’s prepared to support and invest in the right infrastructure that could lead to a significant step towards becoming more sustainable.

“If we are asking businesses, organisations and individuals involved in our marine economy to go greener, we need to make it as easy as possible for them to do this. That’s what this project is about.”

The project is being led by the University of Plymouth in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Princess Yachts Limited and Aqua SuperPower.

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