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Powering up the future of the fleet with Bluegrid

Click. Bluegrid's dispenser handle fits into the plug of ABCO's new electric boat on its trailer. Electricity flows through a thick black cable to a tall, slim off-white tower: the converter. People gather around the converter display, watching. A light atop the convertor will turn either green, red or blue. Green means "ready," red means "fault," blue means "charging."

Photos provided by Bluegrid

The light turns on: Blue. Charging. So far, so good. Another long black cable connects the dispenser to a nearby building, Molen Services. The building's power meter is examined. Numbers roll backward. That means electricity from the boat battery is feeding into the power grid in Burnside Industrial park. Success! On the first try, to boot.

"There was celebration, high fives," says Trevor Hennigar, COO of Bluegrid Energy, "we were all realizing we accomplished something so special. We were all just sitting there, watching it."

The result of over a year of hard work, Bluegrid's "vessel to grid" (V2G) system is meant primarily to help the commercial fishery improve society's energy efficiency and decarbonize. The power grid has varying levels of demand through the year and even through the day. It depends on batteries to store electricity. Why not let your battery be part of the system? You can even make money.

The V2G system allows electric boats to become one of those power grid batteries, able to draw electricity from the grid and also feed it. Any power fed to the grid will be paid. This promises to make electric boats more affordable, and over time they can become a source of income. In the offseason a boat can sit on a cradle and generate money. "In a diesel boat you don't get a revenue stream," Trevor points out.

Used in the demonstration is an electric boat built recently by ABCO Industries. Launched in the fall of 2023, it's been cruising around the maritimes for testing and demonstrations.

The V2G demonstration went on through the day. After the initial thrill of success and high fives, there wasn't much more excitement. It was actually a little boring: nothing went wrong. But that's a good thing.

"Boring is exciting," says Trevor, "the more boring it is, it means that we've done a good job. I'm happy to report it was quite an uneventful day."

To learn more about Bluegrid and the innovative vessel to grid system visit their website.


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