Electric trains have already been a popular and more sustainable mode of transport as compared to any other in Northern Europe. The trains emit a lot less carbon compared to fossil fuel based transport systems, but recently, the Netherlands has taken this to the next level.
January 1st 2017 saw the beginning of a new and much cleaner era, when all trains currently running in the Netherlands shifted to wind power sources. NS, the largest Dutch railway company, had ambitions to create a safe transport system for their citizens with the least carbon emissions possible. They teamed up with the energy company Eneco and set out to power all their trains with wind generated electricity.
The completion date for the project was originally set in 2018, but since 75% of the project was completed by 2016, the implementation was done a year earlier.
Looking at the numbers, NS is responsible for transporting 600,000 people every day, which requires 1.2 billion kWh of electricity per annum. To see how huge the amount of this power is, in comparison, this is the amount of electricity consumed by all the households in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.
This transformation is one of the largest steps taken to reduce a country’s carbon footprint. The Netherlands being one of the most liberal and forwards states, it is expected of them to work towards a much better future for the earth.
However, there have been some concerns shown as to how the Netherlands will keep up with the demand of wind energy country wide. There are still questions as to how the Netherlands produces its renewable energy.
The total generation of electricity through wind power amounts to 7.4 billion kWh per year, and the requirement of wind powered energy in the country is about 12.5 billion kWh. Demand clearly exceeds the supply.
Eneco solves this problem by Guarantees of Origin (GoO). This is the process where a country may buy electricity from another country where the renewable amount produced may exceed the demand. A trade of renewable resources is made between Eneco and other countries.
To cater to their railway clients, Eneco stated that the energy for the NS railway system comes from recently built wind farms in the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium. If the power requirement for this project wasn’t met, it would have been impossible to launch it a year earlier than the target date.
The Netherlands have played a huge part in the climate change war, and other countries need to learn by example. Countries that have public transport running on fossil fuel generated electricity need to start setting targets for themselves; targets that can implement the use of renewable energy in the future and promote the use of public transport more than the usage of private cars.