All American Marine (AAM), Bellingham, Wash., has been busy the last two weeks, beginning with launching its newest 77' fuel-efficient vessel for Puget Sound Express and capping it off with a visit from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
On July 13, Gov. Inslee visited the shipyard’s Bellingham facility, where he recognized the importance of the recently launched Sea Change, the world’s first Coast Guard-approved commercial hydrogen fuel cell-powered vessel. During the visit, he restated his commitment to the green economy, which covers a wide array of industries, and highlighted the role of the maritime economy that makes up so much of Washington state’s cultural identity.
Inslee toured the Sea Change and the nearby AAM facility. The facility tour also highlighted a 73' hydrographic survey vessel currently under construction for use in the offshore wind farms being developed on the East Coast. AAM was proud to showcase its facility and these vessels by working with the Port of Bellingham, Washington’s Maritime Blue Project, the Whatcom Working Waterfront Coalition, and many other partners.
“This ship right here, the Sea Change, I think is the most exciting vessel in Washington state," Inslee said. "We are going to experience a Sea Change, we are going to revolutionize our entire economy by going to low and zero sources of emissions. And there’s no greater advance in the world today, than the first hydrogen fuel cell powered passenger vessel...right here in Bellingham. There are those who doubt, our ability to effectuate the clean energy revolution. They don’t think we can invent our way to new systems. They don’t think we can put people to work building fuel cells, or batteries...It’s because we have courageous entrepreneurs and skilled crafts persons.”
AAM and Gov. Inslee recognized all the partners in the building Sea Change, noting the owner SWITCH Maritime, the vessel suppliers: Cummins, BAE, and Zero Emissions Industries, and many more.
The governor also spoke of forming a center of excellence in Washington for low or zero emission vessels, and efforts currently underway to become a hydrogen hub for the nation in terms of production and application of hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The Sea Change project has received important municipal support including a $3 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), that comes from California climate investments, a California statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Inslee said he admired California’s initiatives towards putting real dollars towards helping solve climate change and has allocated over $6 billion in state funding towards climate action solutions in Washington state’s own climate fund to help new projects such as the Sea Change, continue to be constructed in Washington.