Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Collective Investment

San Francisco is a great place and a city known around the world. If only we could be so forward thinking that we could cut emissions by 40% like Amsterdam.
Mark Scott has a nice piece in BusinessWeek on Amsterdam's plan to become one of the world's premier green cities—and fast. Scarily fast. The city is hitching up with utilities and private companies to plunk down $1 billion over the next three years to do stuff like creating a citywide smart grid that better juggles electricity demand, replacing old garbage trucks with electric vehicles, powering bus stops with solar panels, improving the efficiency of homes, putting meters in homes to let people better monitor their own energy use, and so on… All told, Amsterdam hopes to cut its carbon emissions 40 percent by 2025.
This also got me to thinking, a billion dollars over three years is not a lot if you're going to do something extraordinary. Especially when what you're doing is lowering everyone's costs. I would think this would be the same for expanding the subway network here in San Francisco. Sure it might be a bit of an up front cost, but the more people that we can get to leave their cars, the more they will save. Huge benefits to collective investment.


Bob Davis said...

SF has been using renewable energy for years. Their Hetch Hetchy power and water system provides hydroelectric power that runs the Muni Metro, "F" line streetcars, the cable car winding machinery and the electric bus network. I think it even keeps the lights on in City Hall.

Robert said...

"...powering bus stops with solar panels..."

I hope this is one they avoid -- small-scale solar like this is a pure gimmick with fewer life cycle CO2 savings than any other measure.

Matt Fisher said...

You should all look at this in Paris. :)

I just can't find it that good to argue that we should continue to be strapped of good transit in America, and especially good rail, compared to much (not all) of Europe and Japan (outside of New York, that is).

The highlight of this in Paris is an "Arc Express" driverless metro project. It would connect important places, like the major job centre of La Défense. The first of four parts isn't scheduled to open for about 12 or so years, though.

Alon Levy said...

Renewable or not, SF emits 11.4 tons of CO2 per capita per year - about the same as San Diego.