As of the 1st of January, 2017, electric Dutch trains are now completely powered by wind energy, according to NS, the national railway company. Only the couple of Diesel trains in the fleet will use energy derived from fossil fuels.
NS partnered with energy company Eneco for a 10-year contract which will see electricity produced by wind farms directed to powering trains.
The Dutch railway company will use 1.2 billion kWh of electricity this year or as much as all households in the country consume. Roughly 600,000 passengers will travel on trains 100% powered by wind energy in 2017. As an interesting trivia fact, only three strokes of an Eneco wind turbine are enough to push a railway trail one kilometer. Every day, NS operates 5,500 train trips.
“Mobility is responsible for 20 percent of CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, and if we want to keep traveling, it is important that we do this without burdening the environment with CO2 and particulate matter," Michel Kerkhof of energy company Eneco said last year.
The contract initially stated that the Dutch trains will be wind-powered by 2018, but the milestone was reached much faster, according to NS spokesman Ton Boon.
Boon says more wind farms will be installed in the Netherlands, both inland and off the coast, to offset the new demand. Meanwhile, NS is also working on ways to make train trips more efficient. The goal is to bring down the energy use per passenger by 35 percent by 2020 compared to 2005.