The Dutch have been using wind power to move water and mill grain for centuries, and the windmill is one of the Netherlands' most iconic symbols. Today, the Netherlands’ national railway company, known as NS, is using wind energy to power its network of electric trains. NS operates some 5,500 train journeys every day, carrying around 600,000 passengers to their destinations. The Netherlands had hoped that wind energy would be the sole source of power for the trains by 2018, but actually achieved that goal a year earlier than expected, in January 2017. Achieving the target early was mainly due to the increasing number of wind farms across the Netherlands, as well as offshore.
Blowin' in the wind:
- According to NS and energy company Eneco, one wind turbine running for an hour generates enough electricity to power a train for about 120 miles (200 km).
- As the blades of a wind turbine rotate, they cause a shaft to move, which in turn powers a generator, producing electricity.
- The NS train fleet still consumes quite a lot of energy, however. Annually, the trains use 1.2 billion kWh of electricity, which is roughly equivalent to the amount of power used by all Amsterdam households in a year.