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German rail operator Deutsche Bahn to tender for 500 GWh green power

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German rail operator Deutsche Bahn to tender for 500 GWh green power

  • Author
  • Andreas Franke
  • Editor
  • Dan Lalor
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power

London — DB Energie is tendering for 500 GWh of green power as it targets 100% renewables by 2038, up from a current level of 57%, the energy unit of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said.

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The tender for the green power purchase agreements (PPAs) with various durations, technologies and volumes over the next eight years closes November 18, it said.

"From 2038, DB will be running with 100% green power as we are systematically replacing expiring power plant contracts with renewable energy," DB Energie head Torsten Schein said.

Last month, the company signed Germany's first corporate PPA for offshore wind for 25 MW from RWE's Nordsee Ost wind farm in the North Sea, it said.

For 2020, it targets a 61% share of renewables based on its annual power demand of 10 TWh, the state-owned rail operator said.

However, some of this is secured through "Guarantees of Origins" (GOs) or similar green certificates rather than directly fed into the railway's own grid which requires a special 16.7 Hertz frequency.

The increase to 57% in 2018 from 44% in 2017 was mainly achieved by securing green certificates for its long-distance train fleet.

DB Energy's long-term electricity supply contracts with conventional power plants include nuclear (9.6%) and coal (25%), which Germany plans to phase-out.

In particular, that also includes a long-term supply contract with the yet to open 1 GW coal-fired power plant at Datteln 4.

The fate of the plant hangs in the balance after Germany's coal commission recommended not to bring any new coal plants online.

Operator Uniper plans to start Datteln 4 next summer. The plant also includes the world's most powerful rail frequency converter -- a 413 MW unit -- which has been operating since 2014 and is supplied from Uniper's power plant portfolio.

Europe's railways, often state-owned, are at the forefront of the energy transition.

French railway operator SNCF recently signed a PPA with solar developer Voltalia for 200 GWh/year. The 25-year contract relates to supply from three solar parks with a combined 143 MW capacity in Southern France to come online by 2023.

Olivier Menuet, head of SNCF's power unit SNCF Energie, said at a recent conference that helping to bring new solar farms to fruition was the main reason for turning to PPAs.

SNCF spends Eur1.2 billion ($1.35 billion) on energy every year and has a target to procure 20%-25% of its energy from renewables by 2025.

-- Andreas Franke,

-- Edited by Dan Lalor,