Momentum is building to power Melbourne’s trains with renewable energy

In 2014, The Age revealed that Melbourne’s metropolitan train network is Victoria’s second largest electricity user, and the state’s second largest single contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s why Yes 2 Renewables has kicked off our campaign to get Melbourne’s train network running on renewable energy, not polluting fossil fuels.

We know this can work.

In 2017, Victoria’s Andrews government announced the start of construction of two new solar farms near Shepparton and Robinvale in northern Victoria, after signing contracts to support YarraTrams electricity usage.

As of last week, Victoria’s first large-scale solar farm, the Bannerton solar farm near Shepparton has come online – this means Melbourne’s trams will be sourcing their electricity from renewable energy!

If we can power Melbourne’s trams with renewable energy, we can run the trains on renewables too. In the 21st Century there’s no reason to keep Melbourne’s trains dependent on unreliable, polluting fossil fuels.

After tapping onto a solar powered tram, the last thing Melbournians want is to tap on to a coal-fired train.

The Melbourne-based Yes 2 Renewables Collective has been hard at work spreading the word about the campaign, and has launched an open letter calling on the Premier and opposition leader to show leadership by committing to power Melbourne’s trains with wind, solar and energy storage.

The letter has been signed by allies in the climate movement Beyond Zero Emissions and the Public Transport User’s Association, as well as Victoria’s independent Renewable Energy Advocate Simon Corbell.

The idea of running Melbourne’s train network on renewable energy is something all political parties can support.

Collective members have been advocating at the local level, convincing local governments to join our call.

Yarra City Council recently became the first in the city to pass a motion welcoming solar powered trams and calling for all public transport – trams, buses and trains – to be powered by renewable energy.

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The Maribyrnong City Council has since passed a motion too, as well as the peak body for  Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the peak body for the Victoria’s local governments.

A fortnight ago the Fat Controller himself – famous for his association with coal-burning steam trains –  joined our tour of the metro train network, spreading the word about the impacts of climate change and the need to get off the coal train and on track with renewable energy.

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Momentum is building.

Last month Y2R collective members Pat and Rowan attended the Moreland Candidates forum on Transport, and presented our open letter to Labor candidate Cindy O’Connor who committed to taking it directly to Premier Daniel Andrews, a welcome move.

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Y2R collective members present open letter to power Melbourne’s trains with renewable energy to Cindy O’Connor, Labor candidate for Brunswick

Which candidates and MPs will be next to support our call for renewable powered trains?

With the state election coming up on November 24 there is an opportunity for all political parties to show leadership on climate change by committing to run the train network on wind, solar and storage.

GET INVOLVED:

  • SIGN AND SHARE the open letter with your friends and family
  • JOIN US at a Y2R Collective Meeting to hear about opportunities to do things like flyer train stations, put up posters in your community, get organised and contribute to campaign strategy. We meet every Tuesday 6:30PM upstairs at Friends of the Earth Melbourne, 312 Smith St Collingwood.
  • SUPPORT the Yes 2 Renewables collective with a once-off donation or sign up to become an active friend today! Our grassroots campaign depends on community support.

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