Nederlandse Spoorwegen concludes short-term contract for solar and wind energy

2 min read

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands, has signed a new three-year contract with energy supplier PZEM and Shell for the supply of sustainable electricity for traction power from January 1, 2025.

According to NS, the new contract, which runs until 2027, will guarantee that travelling by train in the Netherlands remains climate neutral. In 2017, NS became the first national transport company in the world to switch completely to wind energy in a deal with Eneco.

In the new contract, PZEM will supply the electricity from 2025, with Shell supplying the Guarantees of Origin certificates to prove where the electricity comes from and that it is green, according to NS.

This guarantees that on an annual basis in Europe as much electricity is generated via solar and wind as NS uses to run trains. 

Tjalling Smit, who is responsible for the energy contract on the NS Board of Directors, said that the company is satisfied that it has found new partners in a “difficult energy market.” He commented: “Initially we wanted to conclude a longer-term contract with more ambition, in which we would take concrete steps to become completely independent of fossil backup for the moments when the sun does not shine, and the wind does not blow.

“The energy market subsequently entered turbulent times, where security of supply is no longer self-evident and prices fluctuate very strongly. In these circumstances, energy suppliers are reluctant to enter long-term contracts. That is why we have now chosen to conclude a short-term contract.” 

NS expects the technological possibilities in the field of energy generation and storage to increase significantly in the coming years and is therefore preparing to be less dependent on fossil backup after 2027. “[We are] considering options in the field of storage capacity and so-called hourly matching, where the time of generation and use are closer together,” Smit added.

NS noted that energy costs will be higher for the company in the coming years, compared with those under the current energy contract. However, the firm stressed that this will have no direct impact on the traveller. “The price of a train ticket can be increased annually with inflation, and this already partly includes the higher energy price,” NS stated. “The price of a train ticket is subject to strict rules. Only if the price of energy in the future turns out to be higher or much lower than inflation, can the price of the train ticket be adjusted up or down accordingly,” it added.

NS consumes 1.2 TWh of energy per year. That is approximately 1% of the total Dutch energy consumption and as much as the entire city of Amsterdam. NS has reduced energy consumption in various ways in recent years, including training operators to drive more energy efficiently. In addition, NS sets high standards for energy consumption when purchasing trains.