This year’s European Light Rail Congress is being held in the beautiful city of Seville in Spain. Capital and the largest city of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia, it is known for being the warmest city in Continental Europe with temperatures regularly exceeding 35 degrees in July and August. Since 2009, it has also been the home of the Global Light Rail Award winning Metro de Sevilla and their 18.1km of light rail. 
Always driven by a need to increase efficiency, optimize sustainability and boost passenger experience, they decided to take advantage of their average of 2890 hours of sunlight a year to further build on their already impressive record of reduction in power consumption. 
What was their plan to achieve this and why did they win the ‘Best Environmental and Sustainability Initiative’ category in the 2023 Global Light Rail Awards? Well, read on to find out… 
Metro de Sevilla, a Concession Company of the Regional Government of Andalusia belonging to the Globalvia group is proud of its record in providing a sustainable form of urban transport to its citizens through reducing traffic, pollution, and CO2 generation within the city. Trams offer citizens a reliable and sustainable way to travel throughout a city which offers a zero-carbon experience at point of use as well as reinvigorating and rejuvenating city centres and connectivity within the city. 
Since 2014, Metro de Sevilla and Globalvia have been actively working to improve their sustainability record by making some innovative changes to their system. These have included installing efficient LED lighting at stations, improving the electricity supply systems to maximise the impact of the energy released when braking as well as improving the software of their automatic driving system to avoid harsh braking or acceleration. These innovations led to a 37% reduction in electricity consumption throughout the company. 
Worried that they were still producing high annual CO2 emissions thanks to their reliance on electricity, in 2015, the system made the decision to move to receive their electricity supply from only guaranteed renewable energy sources. This led to them being able to avoid 5,000 tonnes of indirect emissions being generated annually. In addition, since 2020, Metro de Sevilla has been completely carbon neutral – which demonstrates their commitment to protecting the environment. 
More recently, Metro de Sevilla and Globalvia have been looking at new ways to reduce their impact on the environment further. As part of the Regional Government of Andalusia’s ‘Green Revolution’ Scheme, which alongside many other national initiatives, aimed to promote the use of renewable energies in the public and private sector and alongside Globalvia’s own strategic sustainability plan, the idea of making increased use of the photovoltaic energy generated by the sun was born. 
Covering a total surface area of 5,800 square metres and using more than 2,000 panels, the new photovoltaic plant gathers energy from the sun and is responsible for generating some 13 million kWh annually. Previously, the energy was gathered from existing solar panels upon the roofs of Metro de Sevilla’s workshops and depot and returned to the general distribution network. Now every structure owned by the Metro has been equipped with solar panels and the 2-million-kilowatt hours per year that they produce will generate 15% of the energy the company consumes. Completed in February 2023, the system now generates 1.3 MW of power – all which is used in making sure the system remains self-sufficient. 
The Deputy Minister for Development, Territorial Planning and Housing at the Regional Government of Andalusia, Mario Muñoz-Atanet was effusive in his praise for the 2023 Global Light Rail Award winning scheme. “This is a new milestone in its sustainable consumption strategy, in line with the Green Revolution that the Andalusian Regional Government is leading nationwide and which, among its objectives, includes the promotion of the use of renewable energies in public transport”. 
You can watch a short video here outlining their project and the benefits that it has brought to their passengers, city and environment.  
At Mainspring, we know the benefits that light rail and sustainable urban transit can bring to a city, region and country and we are very much looking forward to seeing the results of this award-winning company for ourselves. Our European Congress is centered around the ways in which technology can be used to create more sustainable urban transit and this project encapsulates this theme perfectly. 
As they head the sustainability initiatives within Globalvia, they are a source of inspiration to other operators, local authorities and Governments and, as key speakers within the European Light Rail Congress 2024, we are looking forward to learning more about the birth of the initiative, an update on all the effects and benefits recorded throughout 2023 and the opportunity for the sharing of best practice when it comes to sustainability in transit. 
The success of this project speaks for itself and we are looking forward to hearing more from Metro de Sevilla, as well as our other LRT professionals and experts, on their vision, innovations and successes in the field of sustainable transit. 
To learn more about the 2024 European Light Rail Congress and how you can get involved as a speaker, delegate, supporter or exhibitor, please click here… 
Metro de Sevilla's use of sustainable energy sources such as this photovoltaic plant provides the energy for their fleet and won them a Global Light Rail Award in 2023. 
“Metro de Sevilla stands as a high-capacity, sustainable mobility solution that continually enhances efficiency in energy consumption, obtained entirely from renewable sources. Metro de Sevilla and Globalvia are committed to innovation and sustainable mobility prioritizing user-centric approaches, aiming to connect people by developing transport infrastructure and mobility solutions.” 
Jorge Maroto, Managing Director, Metro de Sevilla. 
Passengers on the network can enjoy a truly sustainable travelling experience 
Join in with the Congress this March to learn more about Metro de Sevilla and their extension plans for the future 
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