Energy Consumption of Rail Baltica Project: Regional Aspects of Environmental Impact

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Abstract

Research purpose. The high-speed railway (HSR) construction project in the Baltic States is the largest joint infrastructure project since the restoration of independence of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Rail Baltica (RB) is considered as the most energy-efficient project having the lowest environmental impact. However, the issue of energy consumption of the project was not sufficiently addressed either in the investment justification of the RB construction or in the relevant research works regarding the project. The aim of the current research is to determine the indicators of energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity of the Latvian section of RB, since they are the key factors of the quantitative assessment of sustainability.

Design/Methodology/Approach. Critical analysis of the academic research works and reports of the official international organizations dedicated to the topic of energy consumption and CO2 emissions of HSR was conducted prior to the calculation of the above-mentioned indicators. The method of calculation based on International Union of Railways (UIC) was used in order to conduct the cluster analysis within the framework of current work. The main points considered are electricity consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and level of passenger and freight demand. Statistical databases of UIC and International Energy Agency were used.

Findings. The calculations carried out by the authors of the given article demonstrate substantial figures of CO2 emissions intensity for Latvian section of the project related to the train load rate and traffic intensity which is evened out only by the CO2 emissions factor in Latvia.

Originality/Value/Practical implications. On this basis the authors present the directions for future research required for the development of the effective strategy for the Latvian Republic with the aim of achieving the increase in the RB project’s ecological efficiency.

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