The project to design, construct and operate the Sydney Light Rail in Australia, which is being carried out by ACCIONA and its partners in the Altrac consortium, has obtained the Infrastructure Sustainability Design rating awarded by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA).
“IS” is the integral rating system in Australia and New Zealand that assesses the sustainability of the infrastructure design, construction and operation phases.
The Sydney Light Rail project has been rated as “Excellent”, with an overall score of 68.5 points, above the minimum rating requirements of 65 points. Furthermore, the project has obtained the maximum score of 10 points in the Innovation category.
The most outstanding aspects of the project in relation to sustainability and innovation include its HESOP regenerative braking system, which generates significant energy savings during the operation phase of the infrastructure.
This system allows more than 99% of the energy produced during braking to be recovered and reused for auxiliary equipment, lighting and ventilation, or to be resold to electricity producers. The implementation of this braking system also means a reduction in the number of substations and eliminates the need to incorporate braking resistance, which results in an overall saving of materials on the project.
Another outstanding feature of the project is the High Cross Park substation, with an underground design and construction to minimise the potential impact on trees, as well as on cultural and heritage features in the area. It also has a geothermal air-conditioning system that will save 15 MWH of energy every year during operation, equivalent to saving 12.6 tonnes of carbon annually compared to a conventional system.
To mitigate potential flooding in the CSELR (CBD and South East Light Rail) project area, more than 170 flooding scenarios have been studied over two years, identifying more than 112 mitigation options. These include raising the embankment of Kensington Ponds by 300 mm to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 800 properties in the Randwick area.
Greenhouse gas emissions have also been reduced by 10% by implementing regenerative brakes, purchasing renewable energy and installing the geothermal air-conditioning system in Randwick.
ACCIONA is part of the Altrac consortium, commissioned to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain the light railway until 2034, which will cover the 12 km double track CSELR route, and the subsequent operation of 25 km of infrastructure, comprised of the new section and another existing 13 km line. The project also involves important relocations of service infrastructures and an extensive urban regeneration plan.