The Netherlands' Railway Aims To Run On 100% Wind Power By 2018

An old windmill and a new wind turbine overlook a field of tulips. Eric Gevaert/Shutterstock.

The Dutch railway network started shifting from fossil fuels to wind power earlier this year. Now 50% of the electric railway zips by on breezy wind power, but the Dutch are determined to do better. They want a railway that runs exclusively on wind power by 2018.

An agreement signed on 15 May means the rail companies and power suppliers are now contracted to run entirely on renewable energy by 2018. And the Dutch are already renowned for successfully suing even their own government for not sticking to its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government had promised to reduce the country's emissions to at least 75% of 1990 levels by 2020, but was only on track to achieve 83%. Citizens were not happy.

Transforming the railways to trundle along with the power of the wind should bring that goal closer. The contract states that wind power can't be gathered from existing sources. This means that the energy suppliers must invest in new wind technology, instead of simply redistributing wind-generated electricity. The Netherlands' own wind farms will be used, as well wind power from Belgian and Scandinavian farms.

China, one of the world's largest polluters, has taken a different approach to lowering the pollution its transport network produces. It's producing the world's first hydrogen-powered tram, which emits only water. However, other countries have some catching up to do when it comes to green railway locomotion. For example, the U.S., where the focus is currently on actually building wind farms before any thought can be put towards implementing carbon neutral train journeys. 

The world has a way to go, but hopefully The Netherlands is on the right track.

[H/T: Popular Science]

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