Charging stations, electric boats coming soon to a Michigan marina near you
Michigan will spend more than half a million dollars on a slate of projects meant to support the state’s transition to renewable energy — for boats.
Six companies will receive a total of $506,000 as part of a new grant program aimed at decarbonizing the region’s maritime industry. The first round of projects will develop electric boats, deploy solar-powered vessels and install charging stations.
One company, Aqua superPower, plans to install chargers at northern Michigan marinas including in Charlevoix, Traverse City and Harbor Springs.
Charlevoix’s recreation director, Kent Knorr, said new electric charging installations at the marina will align with the city’s sustainability goals.
"We have a very popular marina,” he said. “So I think that as the reality becomes one where people are purchasing electric watercraft, or boats, we will be positioned to be able to provide that service."
Although Knorr hasn’t seen any electric boats in the 70-slip marina yet, he still thinks preparing for the possibility is a good idea.
“I described it recently to somebody as a chicken and the egg,” he said. “What comes first? You’ve got to start with something.”
One Michigan startup will receive $135,000 to deploy solar-powered vessels for public use at marinas and resorts, like Fountain Point Resort on Lake Leelanau. Elk Rapids Marina and Beaver Island are already working on installing charging stations and introducing electric boats.
Knorr said it’s important to get involved in the region’s transition to renewables.
“To, as a community, stand up and say that we're willing to invest in this project and offer opportunity for those in the industry to come to Charlevoix and come to the Great Lakes” and help the industry grow, he said.
There will be a public demonstration of electric boat technologies at the Elk Rapids Marina on Aug. 24.
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