North sea wind energy to power German trains from 2026
DB Group subsidiary DB Energie and the Karlsruhe-based energy company EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG have concluded a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for green electricity. This long-term supply contract involves a new wind farm scheduled to begin operation at the end of 2025. With the amount of electricity supplied from this, the entire German railway power grid can be supplied for three days.
Commencing in 2026 and spanning a 15-year duration, a fresh surge of eco-friendly electricity harnessed from the North Sea’s wind resources will imbue Germany’s traction current amalgam with an even greater shade of green. Pioneering this transformation is the upcoming EnBW offshore wind project, christened “He Dreiht,” slated to channel green electricity into Deutsche Bahn’s operations via an installation of approximately 20 megawatts (MW) capacity. This magnitude of power equates to sustaining the entire German rail network’s traction demands for a span of three days, establishing a striking benchmark. Beyond the remarkable capacity, this initiative is primed to curtail carbon emissions by an estimated 60,000 tonnes annually.
Torsten Schein, at the helm of DB Energie GmbH’s Executive Board, articulates, “By the year 2040, Deutsche Bahn will seamlessly integrate with the climate neutrality ethos. A pivotal stride in this journey involves our resolute pivot to exclusively renewable traction current by 2038. We’re already a frontrunner in Germany’s adoption of green electricity. Now, with the infusion of He Dreiht wind farm’s eco-friendly power, we advance further along this transformative trajectory, propelling us ever closer to our envisioned goal.”
The wind farm is set to be established beginning in 2024 approximately 90 kilometres northwest of the German island of Borkum and around 110 kilometres west of the Helgoland archipelago. Operation is expected to commence by the close of 2025. EnBW, having secured the initial offshore bid in Germany’s 2017 tender with a groundbreaking zero-cost proposal, is spearheading an investment of approximately 2.4 billion euros into the offshore wind project.
Towards greener traction
Currently, DB has already eclipsed the 65 percent mark for utilising renewable sources in their traction current, a substantial leap beyond Germany’s public green electricity amalgamation, which presently hovers below the 50 percent threshold. Aiming for a fully green traction current by 2038, DB’s subsidiary, DB Energie, is embarking on an extensive overhaul of its power plant and supply agreements portfolio. Conventional fossil fuels will progressively cede ground to sustainable energies, as DB Energie embarks on the creation of a diverse traction power portfolio.
Playing a key role in Deutsche Bahn’s transition to sustainable energy, DB Energie is instrumental in crafting and furnishing energy infrastructure. Situated in Frankfurt am Main, this subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn has earned its rank as Germany’s fifth-largest energy provider. Underpinning the eco-friendly energy drive is DB’s comprehensive array of green electricity sources. In addition to harnessing power from wind and solar parks, DB has ventured into a pioneering endeavour by channelling solar energy directly into the traction power grid in an inaugural pilot project since April 2023. An example of this initiative is the expansive 40-hectare solar plant in Wasbek, Schleswig-Holstein, anticipated to contribute around 38 gigawatt hours of green electricity annually.