In order to continue running trains using wind and solar energy in the coming years, NS will switch from Eneco to Provinciale Zeeuwse Energie Maatschappij (PZEM) and Shell. Although NS will spend more, it says it will not raise the price of a train ticket.
At the same time, the transport company does not rule out that the train trip could become more expensive or cheaper if something changes in the price of electricity. Last month, NS received permission from outgoing State Minister for Infrastructure Heijnen to increase train ticket prices more than usual over the next two years. The company may increase tickets by a total of an additional 7 percent in two steps due to higher inflation. NS is also considering charging extra for rush hour.
In 2017, NS was the first national transmission company in the world to completely convert to wind energy. NS claims to operate in a climate-neutral manner. Effective January 1, NS will switch from Eneco to the new supplier. PZEM will supply the electricity, while Shell will provide certificates proving that the electricity is indeed environmentally friendly.
“This ensures that on an annual basis in Europe an amount of electricity is generated by sun and wind equivalent to what NS uses to power trains,” says NS.
Just like Amsterdam
With 1.2 TWh per year, NS claims to use 1 percent of total Dutch energy consumption. That’s the same amount of electricity the entire city of Amsterdam uses annually. As the largest carrier, 85 percent of electricity is used by NS trains. By driving energy efficiently, for example through efficient acceleration and braking, the NS attempts to consume less energy.
Board member Tjaling Smit admits that the choice of Shell sounds very good. “I can’t say much about Shell’s overall level of sustainability. But the green certificates we buy from them meet all external, legal and sustainability requirements. Perhaps this new collaboration will help Shell gain experience that can then also be applied elsewhere.”
NS indicates that energy costs will be higher in the coming years compared to the old energy contract. But since this price has already been included in inflation, according to NS, nothing will change in the price tags. “Only if the energy price turns out to be significantly higher or lower than inflation in the future, can the train ticket price be adjusted up or down accordingly.”
However, the new energy contract was concluded for only three years. According to board member Tjaling Smit, this is due to uncertainty in the energy market due to the war in Ukraine. Because energy suppliers prefer not to enter into long-term contracts due to uncertain times, a short-term contract was chosen.
In the next contract, which will be concluded after 2027, NS wants to continue receiving green energy on days when the sun does not shine and there is no wind, and it is not fossiliferous, as is the case currently.
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