The FINANCIAL -- NIB and the Latvian municipal transport company Rīgas Satiksme SIA have agreed on a 15-year loan totalling EUR 60 million to finance the purchase of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and low-floor trams, as well as the construction of a refuelling station and investments in low-floor tram infrastructure in Riga, the capital of Latvia.
Rīgas Satiksme is set to acquire twenty new low-floor trams and ten buses with hydrogen fuel cells, and to invest in related infrastructure. The delivery of trams manufactured by Škoda Transportation is scheduled for 2017. The planned infrastructure upgrade is aimed at adapting certain lines of the city’s tram network to low-floor trams, including rail crossings, platforms at stops, feeding cables and overhead wires. Rīgas Satiksme is also investing in a hydrogen fuelling station for the hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, according to NIB.
“The project financed by NIB is a pilot aimed at introducing a new type of bus and expanding the low-floor tram network in Riga. We hope this development will increase the comfort level of the city’s public transportation and help reduce the negative environmental impact of fossil-fuelled road transport in a longer run”, says Henrik Normann, NIB President & CEO.
The principle environmental benefit of introducing new trams and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles is the reduced emissions of nitrous oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM10). However, the technology chosen for the production of hydrogen is not considered sustainable and will result in approximately the same greenhouse gas emissions as for diesel.
The project is expected to bring improvements in the operational efficiency of the service due to the expected increase in service volumes and lower costs of the hydrogen-fuelled buses. The impacts are, however, may be moderate, as the project will replace a small fraction of Riga’s public transport fleet.
Rīgas Satiksme is a limited company fully owned by the city of Riga. The company provides public transport services and parking services in Riga. At year-end 2016, the company operated 460 buses, 200 trams and 270 trolleybuses, and it employed 4,100 people. The company carries nearly 150 million passengers a year.