• Jun 6th 2009 at 8:46AM
  • 4
Bilbao, Spain, has a subway system that is famous for having its stations designed by Sir Norman Foster. There's now another reason that people might be interested in riding the underground rails. Metro de Bilbao, the company that manages the railway system, has announced that all the energy they used during 2008 was obtained from renewable sources and was supplied by Naturgas, a local utility. The company claims that the suburban train system has saved 46,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, about the same as taking 8,000 cars, each driven for 30,000 km (about 20,000 miles) per year, off the road. Metro de Bilbao also announced the installation of brake energy recovery systems that not only stop the trains more effectively but also get energy savings of 33 percent.

[Source: MetroBilbao]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't the San Francisco MUNI metro system completely run off of hydroelectric power from a dam owned by the city?
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's pretty sweet, but Montreal's metro system, built back in the late 60's, runs on 97.6% hydro, 2.2% nuclear, and the rest a mix of wind and natural gas and conventional thermal power. It has a daily ridership of over 1 million trips.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...and almost all electricity generated in British Columbia is hydroelectric, making Vancouver's trolleybus system and Skytrain "zero emission". Calgary's light rail system is advertised as "Ride the wind" because Calgary Transit buys from a wind energy provider, and...

        I'm sure there are many more examples, not just from Canada but from around the world. This is something that people should be aware of - it is not new or particularly difficult to achieve. Highly efficient, sustainable urban transportation is perfectly possible, and should be where efforts are directed (rather than propping up a failing car industry).

        The focus of this blog is different. It seems to me there are too many who want a magical business-as-usual-with-a-twist solution, namely today's fossil fuel cars with no or little environmental impact. I don't think that's possible. There will always be cars, but the everyone-drives-everywhere culture will cease to be - barring some magic breakthrough such as ultracapacitors of orders of magnitude higher charge storage capacity and orders of magnitude lower costs.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Back in 1985, when Skytrain was opened, it *was* run entirely off of hydroelectricity. In fact, we were exporting power to Washington State and Alberta.

        Now that the population is bigger and our per-capita electrical usage has gone with it, (in spite of 25+ years of BC Hydro begging us to conserve - so much for the effectiveness of that effort) we're now using about 2-5% power than our dams can provide.

        But I guess Skytrain doesn't qualify, because renewable energy wasn't so cool back then.
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