As if the announcement of a high-speed rail line that will go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 hours and 40 minutes isn’t exciting enough, Navigant Consulting now claims that the bullet train can run with zero greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the energy consulting firm, the train’s expected usage of 3,350 GWh each year can easily be generated using renewable energy resources in California. The rail line’s energy consumption will be about one percent of the state’s total energy usage—not bad considering its speed, convenience, and potential for widespread use.
The 800-mile bullet train system is being built by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. By 2030, the 220 MPH high-speed trains will carry up to 100 million passengers per year. The ultimate fate of the project will be decided this November, when the state’s $9.95 billion bond measure for the train is voted upon.
It’s hard to comprehend the reduction in carbon emissions that will occur once the train is running—just think about the effect of even one quarter of the people who would normally drive or fly across the state opting for high-speed rail. And why wouldn’t they want to take a train that drastically cuts travel time and eliminates the hassles of sitting in traffic and trekking through airport security? I know I’ll be first in line.
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Ariel Schwartz was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a contributor at Fast Company, Inhabitat, Triple Pundit, SF Weekly, and NBC Bay Area Online. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.