Leading Dutch railway company, NS, signed a 10 year deal with the electricity company Eneco two years ago with a target set for January 2018 as the date by which all NS trains should be running on wind energy. NS spokesman, Ton Boon, confirmed that the target had been achieved a year earlier than scheduled and that all Dutch electric trains were now running on wind energy as of Jan 01 this year. He added that an increase in the number of wind farms across the Netherlands and off its coast had helped NS to fulfill this vision.
Further help in wind power supplies came from Belgium and Finland according to Eneco, thereby ensuring that there is a sufficient amount of electricity available for the railway network’s requirements at all times. A website jointly owned by Eneco and NS issued a post stating that the 600,000 passengers who commute daily by train are “the first in the world” to travel by wind energy. NS currently operates around 5,500 train trips daily.
Energy costs are expected to go down significantly in the process. The trains are supplied with 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of wind energy by Eneco per year. A single train, powered by one windmill running for an hour, can travel over 120 miles. NS and Eneco are hoping to reduce energy levels by a further 35% per passenger by 2020 compared with 2005. As is the case with electric cars, which have been around for a few years, carbon emissions will also be reduced for trains as wind power is a clean form of energy. The Netherlands have set the benchmark for other countries to follow
NS, consistent with its renewable energy initiative, is in the process of reducing its overall energy consumption by 2 percent per year and has already done so by more than 30% from 2005 levels. The Netherlands currently has 2,200 wind turbines and plans to build a large new offshore wind farm as well. Renewable energy accounted for 4% of the country’s generating capacity in 2014 but the Dutch government has a target of raising that figure to 16% by the year 2023.
While all the electric trains in the Netherlands are powered by wind energy, there are some non-electric trains that are not. These are powered by diesel and are mainly used for freight service.