The Netherlands will have 100% Wind-Powered Rail Network by 2018
The firms that run the railway system across the country will move the entire network over to wind power in the next three years, according to media reports.
Dutch energy company Eneco and the VIVENS rail companies signed a deal to make Dutch electric trains within Netherlands Railways run entirely on energy produced by wind farms. Wind farms already supply half of the 1,800-mile, 1.5kV DC network’s energy-a network that carries 1.2 million passengers a day.
The wind power will come from within the Netherlands, as well as Belgium and some Scandinavian nations; part of the objective is to promote increased renewable energy adoption in other European countries.
Wind power already covers over half of the network’s energy needs and Eneco aims to source source the remaining capacity from the Netherlands and neighbouring countries by 2018.
Eneco account manager Michel Kerkhof said: “What makes this contract and partnership unique is that a whole sector decreases its CO2 footprint enormously and sets an example for other sectors to follow,.”
Kerkhof added: “Mobility is responsible for 20 per cent of CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, and if we want to keep travelling, it is important that we do this without burdening the environment with CO2 and particulate matter. This contract offers all Dutch citizens the option to make a climate neutral trip, regardless of distance.”
The railway covers about 2,890 km and the network is used by approximately 1.2 million passengers per day.
As part of the agreement, Eneco will provide 1.4 terawatt hours (TWh) of wind power capacity by 2018, which roughly equates to the amount of energy consumed by all households in Amsterdam.
About half of the total required capacity is expected to come from sources in Scandinavia and other neighbouring regions, with the rest produced in the Netherlands.
Eneco has used specially built wind farms for the project to avoid putting existing applications under added pressure and to keep costs down.
The railway operators are also making energy efficiency savings by developing innovative train designs and driving techniques to keep demand for energy as low as possible.
Kerkhof said: “This partnership ensures that new investments can be made in even newer wind farms, which will increase the share of renewable energy. In this way, the Dutch railways aim to reduce the greatest negative environmental impact caused by CO2 in such a way that its demand actually contributes to the sustainable power generation in the Netherlands and Europe.”
In the last few years, wind power has seen rapid growth in adoption worldwide. According to the International Energy Council, the land-based wind power installation rate has gone up around 24% annually every year since 2000. The council predicts that if world governments stick to plan, wind power could account for 18% of all energy production globally.
Back in the Netherlands, Eneco says it also entered a 10-year deal with Google to make its data center in the northern part of the country totally powered by wind farm energy as well.