In an unprecedented initiative in the history of public transportation, Chile’s Santiago metro will become the first to receive most of its energy supply from new and renewable sources.
Applying the new energy plan is predicted to prevent the emission of 130,000 tons of CO2 per annum, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the metro’s official website highlighted. The electricity supplied to the metro will be equivalent to that supplied to 104,000 households.
Two weeks ago, US-based energy company SunPower announced that it is cooperating with French energy producing company Total on supplying the metro with 300-gigawatt hours per year of clean energy.
Instead of supplying the energy to a national grid then the subway, the Metro de Santiago will directly receive its solar energy from power plants that are 400 miles away.
The solar power project, El Pelicano (The Pelican), will supply the metro with 42% of its energy needs.
The 100-megawatt project is near the municipalities of La Hugeura, located in Coquimbo region, and Vallenar, located in Atacama region. The construction of the power plan will begin in 2016 and its operations are expected to begin by the end of 2017.
The other source will be the 185-megawatts wind farm project San Juan, which will provide the metro with 18% of its needs. The wind farm will be developed by Spanish company Eleconr.
Meanwhile, the remaining 40% will come from Chile-based electric distribution company Chilectra. Both solar and wind stations will supply the metro with energy for the coming 15 years.
Metro de Santiago is the second-largest subway in Latin America, after Mexico. The number of its daily passengers is over 2.2 million. Investment cost of the state in the project is set to be some $500 million.
In 2010, the metro developed a project which sought to reduce energy consumption by 33%. The project successful reduced daily energy usage to 200 kilowatts per hour, compared to the previously consumed 300 kilowatts per hour.
A year later, the metro announced its plan to reduce energy consumption by 5% which is equivalent to energy used by 11,350 households.