Wind Powered Railway System in The Netherlands

Context of Transport Climate Action

Due to a unique partnership between NS (on behalf of the Dutch rail operators VIVENS) and Eneco, in 2018 all electric trains in the Netherlands will be running on green power. Prior to the partnership with Eneco, NS used 1.2TWh of electricity emitting 550kt of CO2.

These indirect emissions will be taken to zero in 2018.

Large scale electricity users such as rail companies can play an important role towards a sustainable future. By using their purchasing power as large electricity consumers, they can stimulate bottom up transition to more renewable energy.


From 2018, all electric trains in the Netherlands will be running on green power, enabling passengers to be truly green as they travel, producing no CO2 emissions at all. Already in 2015, half of the electric trains operated by NS run on green electricity.

NS finalized this contract with Eneco on behalf of all rail companies, united under a joint rail procurement cooperative, VIVENS, on 1 July 2014. Eneco won the contract after an extensive tender process for a new energy contract for all electric train traffic in the Netherlands for the period of 2015 to 2024. This is the largest contract for green power in the Netherlands.

The green power will come from new wind farms that are gradually coming on stream in the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium. Half the power will come from the Netherlands, the other half from abroad. The construction of these new wind farms were included as a requirement in the invitation to tender to avoid tying up the limited existing capacity of sustainable energy projects in the Netherlands and to give a boost to the production of green power. The specially designated wind farms also make the supply traceable.


Under the terms of the deal, already half of the NS fleet of electric trains runs on green energy this year, rising to 70% next year, (2016). This will increase to 95% in 2017 and will be 100% climate neutral by 2018. Meaning all rail trips will be climate neutral by

The long term partnership (ten years) enables Eneco to invest in further new wind farms.wind rail infogrtaph


The biggest environmental impact is caused by the reduction of 550kt of CO2 emissions by 2018. But the partnership has more advantages. It doubles the amount of climate neutral travel kilometers and it adds 500MW of installed wind energy in the Netherlands and neighboring countries. The deal works as a showcase for other sectors and companies. There is an increasing need for companies to demonstrate leadership in sustainability; not only to realize the transition towards a carbon neutral environment, but also because sustainability is seen as a key business driver for innovation.

Potential for scaling up

This deal has the potential to revolutionize how renewable energy is procured and utilized, both in the rail sector and other primary industries.

The transportation sector itself is responsible for 20% of all CO2 emissions in the Netherlands. As more people choose to travel by train it reduces CO2 even more .

Soon it is likely that electric cars, buses and trucks will dominate the roads. The electric energy that is needed to operate these vehicles should also be provided by renewable sources, whether it’s an offshore wind farm or from solar panels on your roof. So it’s only a matter of time before the transportation sector as a whole becomes truly climate neutral.



Europe, The Netherlands






netherlands, Rail, Passenger, Technology, Policy, Mitigation


NS and Eneco


Carola Wijdoogen (, Joris Laponder (,

“What makes this partnership unique is that a whole sector decreases its CO2 footprint enormously and sets an example for other sectors to follow. This contract offers all Dutch citizens the option to make a climate neutral trip, regardless of distance." Joris Laponder

Carola Wijdoogen:
“According to a customer survey, eight out of ten passengers consider it important for rail companies to switch over to green power. Starting from 2018, trains will be fully running on green power, enabling our 1.2 million passengers per day to travel with zero emission impact.”.