The Netherlands now runs all of its electric trains on wind energy, meeting a goal to transition to 100 percent renewable energy a year ahead of schedule.
Dutch train companies, especially industry leader NS, worked with power company Eneco to get the train systems on 75 percent wind power in 2016, and the 100 percent goal was set for 2018, but was met last week. This makes NS the world’s first rail company that gets it’s energy 100% from wind power.
NS annually consumes 1.2 billion kWh of wind electricity, reportedly equivalent to the amount all households in Amsterdam consume each year. The 100 per cent wind energy-powered trains transport 600,000 passengers and three strokes of an Eneco (dutch energy company) wind turbine drives a railway train one kilometre. That means 1.200.000 train trips per day without CO2 emissions.
One hour of an operational windmill provides enough energy for a train to cross 200 km, and three rotations of a wind turbine enables a train tot travel 1 km.
The Netherlands had been buying renewable energy from neighboring countries in the EU and using gas-powered plants to make up the difference, but the creation of additional wind farms meant it could produce all the energy necessary to power its train system independently.
By comparison, US efforts to move toward renewable energy have intensified over the last few years, but they still lag far behind many European countries. About 20 million homes can currently be powered by the US’s wind turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Texas, California and Iowa have the largest energy output from wind energy.
*) Image: Nicky Boogaard (cc)