Residents and visitors to the Hebrides, the archipelago off the northwest coast of Scotland, will soon have a greener way to get around. In an effort to create jobs and to advance an agenda of sustainable development, the Scottish offered a £20 million contract to build the world's first hybrid ferries.
The three ferries, which will run on diesel electric and battery power, will be built by Ferguson Shipbuilders. They're set to hit the water in 2013. Each will hold 150 passengers and 23 cars, and will be "cleaner, quieter and cheaper to operate and maintain than ever before," said Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment.
American lawmakers hemming and hawing over how to create jobs in a stagnant economy could take a page from Scotland's book. No doubt a £20m ($32m) price tag would upset many opposed to government spending, but we would do well to join the Highlanders in recognizing the "vast economic potential of developing green technology and moving to a low carbon economy," as Neil put it.
Follow Alex on Twitter.