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All trains running on Dutch network operator NS Dutch Railways’ lines are now powered by electricity derived entirely from wind power. The switch is a result of a partnership between NS and wind turbine operator Eneco and represents an early reaching of a milestone scheduled for next year.
NS trains make 1.2 million journeys every day and its trains require 1.4 TWh of energy to do that. According to the railways operator, this amount is equal to 1 percent of the Netherlands’ total power consumption, or the annual consumption of Amsterdam.
Half of the energy needed to supply the trains comes from wind farms both at home, and in neighboring Belgium and the Scandinavian states. The reason: if the trains relied only on domestically produced energy, this would limit the availability of wind energy for other users and make it more expensive as well, according to Eneco official Michel Kerkhof.
The Netherlands is among the top performers globally in renewable energy use. At the end of last year, the government released a long-term energy plan that should see internal-combustion engine fired vehicles disappear from Dutch showrooms and dealerships by 2035 and disconnect households from the national gas grid by 2050.
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The plan drew criticism from leftist parties and environmental organizations because they believed it was not ambitious enough. Indeed, as the Energy Collective points out, the majority of Dutch MPs had earlier asked for another deadline for the start of phasing out of cars running on fossil fuels: 2025. However, the Minister for Economic Affairs Henk Kamp, member of a coalition government, said this was too soon.
In the natural gas department, newly built houses will not be connected to the existing gas grid, and older ones will start getting disconnected gradually. If all goes to plan, by 2050, no house in the country will be heated with natural gas. Instead, households would be able to use waste heat from industrial processes and geothermal energy.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.