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Five Key Takeaways from the Nova Scotia Lobster Fleet Electrification Assessment

Nova Scotia’s lobster industry is a vital part of the province’s economy accounting for 80% of the province’s fishing industry.  However, there is no clear strategy to decarbonize the industry even though the Province of Nova Scotia has committed that by 2030, emissions must be reduced to at least 53% below 2005 levels, and it seeks to achieve net zero by 2050.

A new “Nova Scotia Lobster Fleet Electrification Assessment” report has just been released by Oceans North to which Rimot was a contributor. The report provides analysis and calls for action by industry and government to achieve zero-emissions across marine vessels and the electricity grid while protecting our invaluable oceans.   

The report provides a template and encouragement for Nova Scotia and other jurisdictions with sizeable fishing fleets. Here are our five key takeaways from the report that highlight the opportunity for vessel electrification in the lobster fishing sector in Nova Scotia:

1. Over 70% of the Nova Scotia’s lobster fishing fleet can go electric

The analysis revealed that 2,300 of Nova Scotia’s lobster vessels are well suited for electrification today!  Of these,  over 1,400 vessels can make a complete a day of fishing by using less than 400 kWh of energy making their energy profile ideal for being served primarily by battery power. The remaining 900 are ideal candidates for plug-in hybrid solutions.

2. 1,400 electric first fishing boats can reduce 33 million kilograms of CO2 annually

The entire lobster fishing fleet currently emits over 82 million kilograms of CO2 equivalent each year, equivalent to the emissions from 35,000 cars! However, with a transition to battery-electric vessels using 400 kWh of energy, we could eliminate 60% of these emissions for the vessels operating within 20 kilometres of their home port, equating to 33 million kilograms of CO2 equivalent savings annually. This opens the door to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the near-term and total elimination of emissions as the electricity grid moves to 100% renewables over time.

3. Bidirectional vessel-to-grid good for vessel and grid operators

A key recommendation is that all shore charging infrastructure and electric vessels be bidirectional-capable like is being seen in land-based electric vehicles regulations and standards in other jurisdictions.  The report stresses the importance of ensuring that bidirectional be required on all electrified vessels, to enable solutions like Rimot’s BlueGrid Vessel-to-Grid (V2G) technology can be deployed at scale.  BlueGrid enables the batteries on-board vessels to be used by coastal electricity grids while not in use for their primary fishing activities bringing new revenue streams to vessel owners. Including bidirectional from the start is critical to electrifying lobster fleets in the most economical way possible while at the same time maximizing environmental outcomes.

4. Vessel and charging feasibility assessments are a starting point

Conducting feasibility assessments are crucial starting points in enabling vessel owners to begin their electrification journey.  Innovative solutions for accurately determining fuel consumption, propulsion energy requirements, charging profiles, and estimated greenhouse gas emissions for each fishing boat help accelerate the transition by arming stakeholders with the right information to enable the transition for each vessel or fleet owner. Additionally, grid assessments can provide valuable insights into the necessary infrastructure investments to support the growth of electric boats and their energy demand on the grid, helping pave the way for wider adoption. The value of vessel and charging feasibility studies has been repeatedly seen in Rimot’s work with many diverse customers.

5. Government incentives and utility programs are crucial to enable technology adoption

One of the report’s recommendations is for the expansion of existing on-road electrification incentives to include marine as a way of accelerating the electrification of vessels. Bringing the capital cost of electric vessels and their charging systems to parity with diesel vessels while also supporting the funding for infrastructure is critical to accelerating the pace of adoption. New commercial structures from utilities and related organizations allowing vessel owners to realize on financial benefit of vessel-to-grid will help to even further accelerate the transition.

Nova Scotia has an opportunity to lead in fishing vessel electrification

The Nova Scotia Lobster Fleet Electrification Assessment sets a goal of having 10% of the lobster fleet, which equates to about 300 boats, decarbonized by 2030 with electrification playing a critical role. This goal offers a promising vision for a more sustainable future for the province’s lobster fishing industry.

By pursuing a decarbonized future, Nova Scotia can significantly decrease emissions, support local rural communities, and secure the long-term viability of its iconic lobster fleet, fishery and industry.

Nova Scotia is a leading provider of lobster to the world, and by acting quickly on this opportunity can also be a world leader in marine electrification!