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  • By Agence France-Presse in The Hague

    All Dutch electric trains are now powered by wind energy, the national railway company NS has said .

    “Since 1 January, 100% of our trains are running on wind energy,” sai […]

    • Thanks for that Alan, I was thinking much the same thing.

      I suspect what they mean is they are paying for the amount of kilowatts of energy to the wind company that is off-setting it’s production with other forms of energy, so when the wind is not on they use grid power but put there excess into the grid otherwise. I wish they didn’t use this language it leads to climate deniers (rightly) to point out that wind doesn’t go 100% of the time. Would have been different if in the article they had explained that they commissioned sufficient megawatts/year to cover 100% of the electricity used in train travel. And then explain that while at any one point this energy mix may not be entirely wind but that wind replaces the need to generate x megawatts of energy from fossil fuels.

    • Other good news. Google announced today they will reach 100% renewable power some time in 2017.

      What I am hoping for is the economics for clean energy will reach some tipping point and the fossil fuel industry will tank overnight. How I want to see those anti-environmentalists lose their shirts.

    • Alan and Reckless. I think they would have battery banks in the train to charge?
      Without having to carry diesel or a large heavy motor?

    • alf1200 #7
      Jan 13, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Alan and Reckless. I think they would have battery banks in the train to charge?

      I don’t think that would work for the high voltage a/c systems and power required for modern trains.

    • Strikes me as the infrastructure in most countries (certainly small countries like Holland) should have no difficulty putting in overhead lines and could therefore save the weight (of batteries) on the trains. I suspect they are using a bunch of power sources (I don’t know the energy mix in Holland) but have calculated the annual megawatts of power used and have purchased sufficient wind farms to offset that amount of power. Other power sources be it nuclear, coal, solar, hydro or whatever the mix is will be used when wind is low. The other option ultimately is to connect power grids over wider areas (the wind/Sun will always be blowing/shinning somewhere).

      The article is very unclear about how they do this which is a problem I think. I applaud them doing this because every kilowatt of power generated by wind is one less kilowatt generated by coal, so let’s say on one day they are using 60% power generated by wind at that moment and 40% say coal. At other times they are generating the 40% either over their need on a windy day which will mean they will not have to burn as much coal or gas to keep the grid working. So yes they can kinda sorta make the claim that 100% of their power is either directly from wind or offset from other sources. But ultimately those other sources are going to be made entirely of carbon neutral forms of energy.

      It’s fine for a few companies to say offset their carbon by paying for alternative energy elsewhere in the grid but only so many can do this before the alternatives are not being utilized or coal or gas are going to be continued to be used. Climate deniers will point. We need to be extremely direct and honest about where we are at this is great new I just wish the news would be more precise, we need to do more of this while replacing coal as base-load power.

    • Just out of interest Alan, is there an advantage running a train of alternating current over direct? The article you linked to seems to suggest the system is more reliable (I’m unsure why one is more reliable than the other also) and that it obviously makes sense to have the same system throughout Europe (Australia stupidly implemented different gauge tracks in almost every state so we have to stop and change trains between states). Just wondering why the rest of Europe chose AC over DC and don’t know enough electronics to make a judgment. Any ideas?

    • Thanks Alan