In a bid to promote clean energy for railway purposes, US railroad companies are thinking of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. BNSF Railways and other companies are looking forward to electrify and power their rail tracks with wind power. Considering the acute fuel shortage the whole world is going through, it becomes an interesting move. The Obama administration has also shown tremendous strength of character in relying on cleaner forms of energy. Well, we need to see if this comparatively more expensive form of energy paves the way for a greener future or if the financial restraints hamper the progress.
Private Rail companies have been most reluctant:
Call it the reluctance of the private rail companies or some attached monetary benefits, companies like EMD and GE haven’t built an electric locomotive in more than 30 years. Moreover, Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom have always eyed the European market for its produce. In the present of circumstances, electrification might go on to profit all five. Therefore, in a way, wind power could reincarnate these locomotive giants.
This table shows the electrified railroads and their relative proportion to the length of routes in kilometers. It’s amazing to find out that the US stands nowhere on the list.
Healthier alternative to fossil fuels:
Especially, in areas where wind power is in abundance, it’s always sensible to put it to use rather than counting on fossil fuels and inviting harmful carbon emissions. Conceptualizing something and lending it practicality have always been analogous and this time even, it’s no different. No doubt, there are other facets involved, such as heavy capital expenditure and the suitability of this form of energy for railway purposes, as Railway Age puts it. However, these glitches need to be routed to ensure better rail freight and passenger trekking.
The economics of cap and trade could impose certain future carbon restrictions affecting railroads. Hence, it could be a factor in justifying the high cost of electrification via wind power.