NS is one of the largest electricity consumers in the Netherlands. We use 90% of that electricity for running the trains and 10% for our buildings. In order to be able to offer climate-neutral travel for our passengers, we use energy-efficiency as a management parameter, purchase as much sustainable energy as we consume on a yearly basis, and use our assets to promote the sustainable generation of energy.
CO2 emissions down to zero: climate neutrality
Since 2017, the amount of new green electricity that we purchase, on an annual basis, equals the amount of electricity we need to run our trains. That electricity can be traced directly to new wind farms in the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia. Effective 1 January 2019, we entered into a new contract for replacement bus services. Our objective is for these services to become climate neutral. As a result of start-up problems during the implementation of the contract, we managed to reduce emissions from replacement bus services by 89% at the end of the year. In the autumn of 2019, the contractor and several other parties took additional measures to ensure that the remaining 11% will be achieved in 2020.
We apply the same principle to our buildings: on an annual basis, we purchase as much green electricity as is consumed in our buildings, and 75% of the gas we buy for our buildings is green gas. In 2020, our buildings will also become fully climate-neutral.
In 2019 our direct emissions (scope 1) in the Netherlands came from the gas energy consumption in our buildings. That amounted to 8,7 kilotonnes of CO2 (2018: 14.1 kilotonnes), thanks to the availability of climate-neutral transport. Indirect emissions (scope 2) as a result of the consumption of heat in our buildings were 0.6 kilotonnes of CO2 (2018: 0.6 kilotonnes). At the start of the franchise in 2015, CO2 emissions amounted to 77 kilotonnes (scope 1) and 487 kilotonnes (scope 2) respectively. This means that we have been able to prevent over 0.6 megatonnes of CO2 emissions since then.
In 2019, an average of 67.7 Wh of energy was used per passenger-kilometre for journeys with NS. This is less than the figure for 2018 (71.3 Wh/pkm), which means we have achieved our efficiency improvement target of 2% per year by a comfortable margin. Our focus in the field of energy-efficiency is on the energy-efficient operation and shunting of trains, and on the promotion of a smart approach to energy consumption among the tenants of retail space at the stations.
NS consumes electricity (1,346 GWh), diesel (2.3 million litres), heat (33.2 TJ) and gas (6.3 million m3) as energy resources for trains, buses, stations, workshops and offices. When converted to GWh, this equates to 1,433 GWh in energy, of which 1,420 GWh is green energy. With our thermal storage system, we generate the equivalent of 20.76 GWh of heat and cold at six stations.
Sustainable sources of energy
Space is scarce in the Netherlands. It is a challenge, therefore, to integrate facilities for the generation of sustainable energy into the existing environment. In addition to its efforts to reduce energy consumption and purchase green energy, NS aspires to contribute to the energy transition by using its buildings and land for sustainable generation. For example, in Amsterdam we have made land available to help realise the Nieuwe Hemweg wind farm. The development of this site gave rise to a partnership in which all participants shared their views on how to realise the wind farm, adjacent to a planned shunting yard. NS contributed to this project by finding solutions to allow multiple uses of the available space. Work to prepare the site for construction started in 2019. The wind farm is scheduled to become operational in 2021 and generate 40 GWh of power per year.
NS buildings in Haarlem and Eindhoven were fitted with a total of 1,851 m2 of solar panels in 2019, generating 376,945 WP of installed capacity. In 2019, the gas systems of ten stations were replaced by more sustainable solutions. In collaboration with ProRail, we are examining possibilities for further increasing the number of 'natural gas free' stations and NS buildings with solar panels.