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California Rail Electrification - 2021 Update

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John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant, Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

  • Member since 2013
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  • Jul 27, 2021
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This paper will use portions of a similar paper I posted in 2019, but contain enough new information to justify posting as a new comprehensive report. We (California) continue to move forward at a slow, steady pace. As in many things, we do not do this because we choose to, but because we must.

The California High Speed Rail System (HSR) is an important part of our state's efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there is a huge amount of travel between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles Area, and this is exclusively by auto or airlines. Although there are efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas from both of these transports, a viable rail system (powered by 100% renewable energy) between these two areas will contribute mightily to this effort.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 27, 2021

It seems like the penetration of high speed rail is much more difficult in the U.S. than elsewhere-- is this a political issue? Cultural? I wish we had more of the European model rather than fly by default

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Jul 28, 2021

Thanks for the comment, Matt:

Since I've traveled to Europe quite a few times when I worked for Siemens and Landis & Gyr, and also both of these firms are / were European, I think it's because the European's are much more comfortable with country-wide transportation planning and implementation, especially the Germans. 

In the U.S. It's not just that the states have more control, but most of the planning and implementation is done regionally (by county, and even by city). Thus it becomes even more difficult. The only reason that BART was able to be implemented in the 1960s and 70s was that most of the Bay Area population centers were unified politically (read: Democratic), and San Francisco really economically dominated the rest of the Bay Area (now, the former still, but the latter not so much).

-John

John Benson's picture
Thank John for the Post!
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