Dutch Trains Could Run on 100% Wind Power by 2018

An announcement this weekend made by a collective of Dutch rail carriers could see all of the electric trains in the Netherlands run on renewable power by as soon as 2018.

A newly-formed co-operative of Dutch train companies called VIVENS (Verenigd Inkoop en Verbruik van Energie op het Nederlandse S) has just put pen-to-paper with utility giant Eneco that will see the commercial energy company deliver 1.4TWh of electricity to the rails of the Netherlands.

Nederlandse S (The ’NS’ in VIVENS) will be just one of several passenger and freight rail companies that will see energy delivered by the new agreement that could set a new precedent for large-scale travel industry infrastructure.

Despite it’s name, Nederlandse S also provides extended services in Germany and the UK, serving around 2.3 million passengers each day. With that figure in mind, should all the trains in Holland reach that intended target of 100% power from renewables, it will be one of the largest completely-renewable-powered infrastructures in the World, if not the largest.

All of this new power will comes from freshly-built wind farms in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Belgium

Despite positive reception to the idea of wind farms from the Dutch Public, NS and Eneco both admitted they have struggled to get planning permission for such a large number of new wind farms domestically, which is why half of the commercial power will comes from neighbouring regions.

NS did say it was proud to have the majority of the power come from Dutch soil and, whilst it will be more expensive to have to import some of the energy, they will not be looking to increase ticket prices to recoup that additional cost.

Wilma Mansveld, Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment. “In the Netherlands, rail transport is facing heavy weather. Yet rail freight grew last year. For example: in 2013 4% more trains passed the border between Germany and The Netherlands. While as many as 10% more trains crossed the border between Belgium and the Netherlands.

As you know the Betuwe freight line to the German border was opened in 2007. By January 2014, 100,000 trains had used it. Every year 130,000 trains use the freight corridor between Rotterdam and Genoa. That is the equivalent of nearly 4 million trucks!”

With all this new commercial power coming from wind farms that are yet to be built, VIVENS say that it will be phasing in the new power into the rail network over the course of the next four years, and are well ‘on-track’ to meet their self-imposed 2018 deadline.