As of January 1, 2017, all electric trains in the Netherlands will be powered entirely by wind energy. Dutch railway companies began working with energy developer Eneco in 2015 to set in motion plans that would make all trains run on renewable energy by 2018. The transition has been completed one year ahead of schedule.
It’s a major step in reducing the country’s carbon footprint. Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the principle railway operator in the Netherlands, transports 600,000 people a day and requires 1.2 billion kWh of electricity a year—that’s equivalent to the amount of electricity used by all the households in Amsterdam for a year.
The wind energy used for the project comes from Eneco’s vast holdings in the Netherlands, Finland, and Belgium. Many of the company’s wind farms were only just recently built and some opened earlier than expected, making it possible to make the big switch in 2017.
The change ushers in a new era of green transportation and will perhaps inspire other countries to incorporate trains powered by clean energy in their proposed plans for high-speed railway projects. The U.S. in particular is still lagging behind many European countries in wind energy consumption with only 20 million homes powered by wind turbines.