Dutch railway operator NS signs provisional short term green energy contract with PZEM and Shell

Dutch Railways (NS) wants to ensure that train travel in the Netherlands is 100% sustainable even after 2024. To this end, the company has signed a preliminary contract with PZEM and Shell. NS hereby opts for a short-term contract of three years instead of a long-term contract.

PZEM, energy supplier for the business market, and Shell will supply NS with sustainable electricity for train travel from January 1, 2025 to 2027. This is the outcome of a recent tender issued by NS on behalf of the rail sector (under the name of cooperative VIVENS). This is a provisional award that will become final after a 3-week objection period. The contracts guarantee that train travel – as in the current contract – is climate neutral.

NS drives climate-neutral by purchasing as much GVO (Guarantees of Origin) on an annual basis as it consumes electricity. The agreements stipulate that PZEM supplies the electricity and Shell supplies the certificates – so-called GVOs that show where the power comes from. This guarantees that just as much electricity is generated via solar and wind in Europe on an annual basis as NS uses for running trains.

Short-term contract due to turbulent energy market

NS says it is pleased that it has succeeded in finding new partners in this difficult energy market. Tjalling Smit, responsible in the NS Executive Board for the energy contract: “Initially, we wanted to enter into a longer-term contract with more ambition, in which we would take concrete steps to become completely independent of fossil backup for those times when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Then the energy market entered turbulent times, where security of supply can no longer be taken for granted and prices fluctuate greatly. Energy suppliers are reluctant to enter into long-term contracts in these circumstances. That is why we are now choosing to enter into short-term contracts.”


Smit continues: “We expect the technological possibilities in the field of energy generation and storage to increase substantially in the coming years. NS is preparing to be less dependent on fossil backup after 2027, for those times when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Think about possibilities in the area of storage capacity and so-called hourly matching, where the moment of generation and use are closer together.”

Limited impact on train ticket price

The cost of energy will be higher for NS in the coming years than under the current energy contract. This has no direct impact on the traveler. The price of a train ticket can be increased annually with inflation, and that already includes part of the higher energy price. The price of a train ticket is subject to strict rules. Only if in the future the price of energy is higher or much lower than inflation can the price of the train ticket be adjusted up or down accordingly.

Energy savings

NS consumes 1.2 TWh annually. That is about 1% of total Dutch energy consumption and as much as the entire city of Amsterdam. NS says it has reduced energy consumption in various ways in recent years. Drivers are trained according to the principle of energy-efficient driving. NS also sets high requirements for energy consumption when purchasing trains. Source: NS

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