“It’s a dream come true to see the production of vessels, including large ones, happen in our state, and happen in Bellingham, it’s a personal thrill. It’s a vision I’ve had for a decade and a half,” Inslee told The Bellingham Herald. “For me, it’s like showing up to Disneyland and finding out it’s a real reality.”
The Fairhaven facility is Corvus Energy’s first facility in the United States.
Corvus Energy CEO Geir Bjorkeli said the company was looking to establish a US location to show there is a future for electric propulsion technology. Bellingham, specifically Fairhaven, was chosen due to the maritime nature of the state and the port of Bellingham accommodating the company’s needs, even finding the facilities for Corvus.
“It is further proof of the relationship between Norway and the United States, Norway and the state of Washington,” Norwegian Ambassador Anikken Krutnes said at an opening ceremony. “It is a landmark, joint effort to develop a cleaner maritime industry and accelerate the much-needed green transition.”
Corvus Energy plans to have about 40 employees in the United States by 2023, most of them located at the Fairhaven facility, according to Coruvs Energy marketing manager Sonja Vernøy Hansen.
US Representative Rick Larsen, D-2nd District, spoke at the ceremony about the importance of the maritime industry in Washington and the steps taken to electrify the ferry system in the area, most recently with the Lummi Island Ferry.
“You can’t have a major maritime economy with minor league maritime infrastructure, and we’re in the business of building major league infrastructure here in Washington state,” Larsen said.
Larsen told The Herald in an interview that it’s exciting to have a facility that can grow as the economy grows. As the electric propulsion industry expands with time, so can this facility.
It may be a while before Whatcom sees electric vehicles, specifically ferries. While nothing has officially started, Inslee said the sky is the limit when it comes to the future of electric transportation in Washington.
“We’re ahead of the rest of the country, we’ve got an advantage here, and there’s no reason this can’t continue,” Inslee said.
Inslee traveled to Norway in September 2022, where he visited Corvus to discuss a Washington installation. HHe traveled on the electric ferry there and said he was impressed by the ship’s technology. He said the ride was smooth and there were no vibrations, smoke or noise. He said he could see this technology sailing across Puget Sound, for the orcas and salmon viewing.
“This is a dangerous time in human history because of the threat of climate change,” Inslee said. “What we really need right now is a strong dose of hope. A strong recognition of a can-do spirit where we can build a clean energy economy.”