Utrecht, the Netherlands [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Wind energy project developer Evelop, part of Eneco, and Dutch railway group ProRail have signed a joint venture agreement to develop the Railwind concept which involves wind turbines above railway tracks on specially designed masts.
Initially piloted in the Sloehaven industrial area, near Vlissingen in Holland, the project – which is expected to start in 2011 with construction of the pilot – is unique, the developers say. Generation from the pilot is expected to begin in 2012. In consultation with municipal and provincial authorities and other stakeholders, an assessment will be conducted to determine how many Railwind turbines can be installed. In addition to the spatial planning considerations, safety will also be thoroughly assessed, as part of which consultancy firm Kema will advise on project management. ProRail manages 6500 km of railway tracks and 386 stations. The company’s Railway Development Director Kees-Jan Dosker said: “During the pilot, we will focus particularly on the aspects safety and railway accessibility.”
The pilot project is currently awaiting the decision regarding an innovation subsidy from Operational Programme ‘South Netherlands’ (OP Zuid), part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) but the joint venture agreement is the first step in realising the concept, which its backers argue allows multiple use of the space available. Local authorities are also apparently enthusiastic about the pilot project in Sloehaven.
Evelop Managing Director Pieter Tavenier commented: “We…are convinced that many more additional locations for wind energy can be developed with similar innovative projects.”