Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
This post is part of a series on high speed rail across the world. Make sure to read previous posts on the US, Germany, and France.
England has added itself to the growing list of countries redesigning its transportation paradigm to include high speed rail. With the launch of the Javelin line from London to Kent this past December, the British government has ushered in a new era of travel in the British Isles. The Javelin travels east/west and has cut the rail travel time from along this route from 80 minutes to just over a half hour.
The Javelin is the first British high speed rail passenger service and will soon be part of a much bigger network that will link England’s major urban areas with a service that travels at 220 mph. An ambitious north-south corridor is planned that will run from London and end in Edinburgh Scotland. “It will radically modernise our transport infrastructure and bring about a significant shift of traffic from car and the plane to the train, while potentially transforming the geography of our country as our cities are bought closer together,” proclaims UK Transportation Minister Lord Adonis.
Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Since 1981, France has had a true high speed rail service, the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). We here in the US are only about 30 years behind the French in the regard…and counting. As US politicians continue to dither on high speed passenger rail, throwing loose change at development, the French corporations like Alstom have perfected this product for export to its former colonies in the developing world making big profits. Since the US is on par with developing world rail infrastructure, we may be best served by swallowing our pride and purchasing this technology from French post haste.
The TGV’s maiden voyage was between Paris and Lyon on September 27th, 1981. Ridership is expected to hit the 2 billion mark in 2010. It is a smashing commercial success, but goes further than that as a symbol on national pride and technological prowess. It is a cornerstone of European integration as it connects France to the UK and her continental neighbors with speed and dependability. Let us parse out the credit for this success to everyone, but one small group of people deserves a mention: the riche.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
According to a new report [Fr] from ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), 90,000 jobs have been created in green sectors in France between 2006 and 2008.
These jobs have been created mostly in the fields of energy conservation and the development of renewable energy.
Overall, the French green sectors now employ over 294,000 jobs (up from 204,000 jobs in 2006). The ADEME is optimistic that this trend will continue and believes an additional 200,000 jobs could be created by 2012.
The energy conservation and renewable energy sectors grew by 28 percent and represent a market worth €50 billion ($75 billion). They could grow to up to €90 billion ($135 billion) by 2012. (more…)
Monday, October 12th, 2009
A battle over whether to place wind turbines within sight of France’s famous abbey, Mont-Saint-Michel, has touched off a dispute within the country’s environmental community over the visual impact of the alternative energy source.
A coalition of local and national conservationists has opposed locating the wind turbines within view of the abbey on the Normandy coast, even though the windmills would be roughly 10 miles from Mont-Saint-Michel.
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
Since 2007, the French photovoltaic market has been booming, with close to 500 megawatts of installed capacity expected this year, up from a mere 40 megawatts three years ago.
Most of this growth first stemmed from residential installations that benefited from high feed-in-tariffs for producers and substantial tax rebates for households. Since last year larger installations have also been skyrocketing.
On September 14, the French government released a draft regulation detailing the upcoming changes regarding photovoltaic electricity feed-in-tariffs in France. This draft is pending approval from the Conseil Supérieur de l’Energie (Energy Supreme Council) until late September.
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
European nations are wary about a perceived trend in France and the United States to use international competition as a reason to back off on carbon-reduction pledges.
They are concerned that carbon tariffs could be used to fend off competition from countries which have not committed to reducing emissions, in effect triggering a green trade war.
So far, France has been the only European Union member state to openly rally for the introduction of border measures to secure the competitiveness of European industry against emerging economies. It put the measure on the table in 2008 when the EU was immersed in discussions on a revision of its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
France is currently thinking of enacting a carbon tax to increase climate change mitigation efforts. If enacted, it would be applied to the consumption of energy in general.
With French electricity being mostly low carbon, the majority of the tax revenues would come from the transportation and housing sectors.
It is worth noting that this new tax would be compensated by a decrease in charges associated to labor.
A ton of carbon dioxide would cost emitters €32 euros (around $45) in 2010 and would bring the government an estimated €8.73 billion ($12.328 billion) during the first year.
Out of these, €3.57 billion would be collected from French households and the remaining €5.16 billion from companies and administrations.
In order to divide greenhouse gases emissions by a factor of four by 2050, the tax would increase with time to reach €56 ($80) in 2020, €100 ($140) in 2030 and around €200 ($280) in 2050.
Monday, June 29th, 2009
The Grenelle de l’Environnement is a series of measures and laws promoting and advancing sustainable development in all major economic sectors in France. From climate change mitigation to biodiversity protection, it is very comprehensive.
Launched in 2007 after a series of debates between the State, unions, employers, NGOs and local authorities, the Grenelle is quite a success as its first effects are becoming visible.
For my first article here, I would like to present you its latest development.
According to an article [Fr] from the AFP, the installed wind power capacity in France reached 4,000 MW. In line with the targets set by the Grenelle, up to 25 GW will have to be installed by 2020. Out of these, five are due to be offshore. (more…)