Dutch trains now running on 100% Wind Power

All of the electric passenger trains running in the Netherlands are now powered entirely by wind. One year ahead of schedule, Dutch railway company NS announced its entire electric train fleet is running on 100-percent wind power as of January 1, 2017, ushering in a new era of green transportation.

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In late 2015, the Netherlands announced its plan to have all of its trains operating entirely with wind power by 2018 – but it has achieved that goal one year ahead of schedule. As of the first of January, all public transport trains are powered by wind turbines!

The electricity used to power the Dutch trains comes from wind farms in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Finland, many of which were just recently built. And because some of those farms opened ahead of schedule, it was possible to move up the time-line. When the country achieved 75 % wind power for the trains by 2016, the initiative made a final push and reached 100 percent by January 1, 2017.

One of the Netherlands’ largest railway companies, known as NS, partnered with the Eneco energy company in 2015 to funnel renewable energy into its fleet of electric trains, which carry 600,000 people a day.

According to DutchNews.nl, there’s currently a total of 2,200 wind turbines across the country. These windmills generate enough power to sustain the equivalent of 2.4 million homes. The trains alone consume about 1.2 billion kWh of electricity a year, which is roughly the total power consumption of every home in the country’s largest city, Amsterdam. Changing to a renewable source for the transportation will make a huge dent in the nation’s carbon footprint, which has already been shrinking over the years as a result of investments in renewable energy projects.

Eneco is using specially built wind farms for the project to avoid putting existing plants under unnecessary pressure and to keep prices down. The railway operators, meanwhile, are making energy efficiency savings in other areas (through train design and driving techniques) in order to keep demand as low as possible – this in turn ensures that the extra price of wind power isn’t passed on to customers.

According to Eneco account manager Michel Kerkhof, “This partnership ensures that new investments can be made in even newer wind farms, which will increase the share of renewable energy. In this way, the Dutch railways aim to reduce the greatest negative environmental impact caused by CO2 in such a way that its demand actually contributes to the sustainable power generation in the Netherlands and Europe.”

Wind energy is rapidly taking over in the Netherlands, while other nations also work toward increasing their renewable energy production. Scotland’s plans are to be 100 percent zero-carbon by 2020. They are also investing in tidal power generation to help achieve that goal.

The use of wind power is growing around the world. The Netherlands has been the latest country to set the pace for adopting alternative energy sources. China is now producing more energy from wind than the US is from nuclear, while Denmark now has enough wind farms to exceed the country’s total energy needs at certain points. As more plants come online, the risk of outages due to calm, still days becomes much lower.

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“Light and Nature” Sustainability in Singapore

 

Photo © 2017  CHOI+SHINE

This year’s iLight Marina Bay Festival in Singapore, featured a spectacular interactive work of art, The Urchins,  created by Choi+Shine Architects. The event’s theme is sustainability, and the three 56-foot-tall artworks symbolized the beauty and diversity of nature.

In a totally immersive experience, each of the suspended sculptures moved when touched by the wind or even visitors, who were invited to handle the polyester cords and panels that composed it.  At night, the works were  spotlit by artificial lighting, and during the day, The Urchins relied on  natural light to cast ephemeral, ever-changing shadows.

Photo © 2017 CHOI+SHINE

 

The iLight Marina Bay Festival in Singapore has been held since 2010, and showcases light art installations created by artists from Singapore and around the world. Installed around the Marina Bay waterfront, the light art installations are designed with energy-saving lighting or environmentally-friendly materials to reinforce Marina Bay’s position as a sustainable precinct, and to encourage people to adopt sustainable habits in their lives.

This year’s festival featured light art installations from nine countries, including Indonesia, France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and for the first time, the festival collaborated with overseas light art festivals – Amsterdam Light Festival in The Netherlands, Bella Skyway Festival in Poland and Scottsdale Canal Convergence in the United States – through the cross-sharing of four local and international light art installations.

Emphasizing the message of sustainability were 20 light art installations with the theme “Light & Nature”, demonstrating the relationship of light with nature and the city, and how light reconciles the push and pull between the constructed and the natural.

 

Photo © 2017 CHOI+SHINE

 

Choi+Shine, the creator of The Urchins,  is a nationally and internationally awarded architecture and design studio run by two principals, Jin Choi and Thomas Shine.

Ms. Choi received her first Master’s Degree in Architectural Art, while running her own design studio in Seoul, Korea. She was recently selected as one of Korea’s Global Young Architects by the Korean Institute of Architects, and she is an adjunct faculty at Suffolk University teaching design studio and thesis studio to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Mr. Shine is a registered architect in both US and UK and received his undergraduate and Master’s Degree in architecture from Yale University’s School of Architecture. Mr. Shine was a teaching fellow at Yale, teaching architectural structures to both graduate and undergraduate students.

At night, the mysteriously hovering and glowing large Urchins created a sense of magic as if time had stopped.  Entering into the Urchins, the viewers were surrounded by a single layer of glowing, lacy surface, where they could enoy the detail and texture of the Urchins and see the city, water and the sky through this visual filter.  With its  large size, creating the artwork was a challenge. Hand-crafting the shells required nearly 3 months to create, by a team of 50 artists.

Choi+Shine was also one of the participants in the Amsterdam Light Festival last year, their installation was Lace,

Photo © 2016 CHOI+SHINE

 This year, the Singapore festival featured five light art installations designed by students from National University of Singapore, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore University of Technology and Design, LASALLE College of the Arts and Raffles College of Higher Education – the highest participation from local educational institutions to date.

One of the festival hubs, The Fantastical World of eco.me organised by The Rice Company Ltd, promoted sustainable living in Singapore with highlights such as a recycling and upcycling marketplace, a kinetic energy playground and an urban farming showcase

 

More images and information on the project is available at:

http://choishine.com/urchins.html

 

Photo © 2017 CHOI+SHINE

Additional Information about The Urchins:

Design: Jin Choi and Thomas Shine

Steel Fabrication : Modern Metal Solutions 

Assembly Crew in Boston: Thomas Shine, Susie Kim , Myungsu Ko, Yeseul Choi, Isabelle Lippincott, Hyokyung Lee

Installation Crew in Singapore: Thomas Shine, Jin Choi, Young-eun Choi, Jaekyu Lee, SoYeung Ko, XiaoMin, Hyosoo Lee

Structural Consultant:  Árni Björn Jónasson, ARA Engineering

Installation Support: iLight Marina Bay

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