De-electrify KiwiRail and negate all the gains of the gay electric cars

via Kiwirail

A renewable energy expert says the decision to de-electrify KiwiRail will more than negate all the emissions reductions from all the electrical vehicles in New Zealand.

Last year, KiwiRail announced it would move back to diesel-powered trains on the main trunk line.

KiwiRail has argued that going all-diesel is better for the environment, because it will be better equipped to take freight than trucks on the roads.

Ralph Sims of Massey University said the rail network would generate 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide more per year by de-electrifying – more than cancelling out the 9000 tonnes saved by using 3000 electric vehicles.

Oh the conundrum for the Greenies.  They want rail and not road.  But now rail is going back to what is affordable and realistically sustainable.

He said the rest of the world was decarbonising.

“This seems to be going in the opposite direction and would more than negate all the savings of all the electric vehicles that we have running around New Zealand at the moment.”

Professor Sims said since 1990 transport emissions had risen by 45 percent, and New Zealand was going the wrong way.

Electrifying the NZ rail network is diabolically expensive, as would be the cost of changing all the locomotives.   Perhaps it is doable as sections become due for replacement, but that would still make it a medium to long term objective.

And then we have those earthquake things.  It’s a lot easier and quicker to repair just a rail line rather than an electrical supply as well.

And was we’ve seen in Auckland and Wellington, diesel locomotives just work.  Whereas the electricity seems to go out at a drop of a hat.

Rail transport needs to be reliable above all else.

We will just have to get another 3000 anaemic university “experts” into another 3000 electric vehicles.   A bit like planting trees to offset the carbon.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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