European Commission signs off on 180-million-euro Czech rail support scheme
The European Commission approved a package worth 180 million euros to support rail operators using electric traction last week. The Czech measure targets improving the environmental performance of rail. However, it is also critical in the context of the energy crisis and the support that rail operators need to cope with high electricity prices.
The scheme will work in a very specific way. Companies will not receive direct grants like in other cases. Instead, the aid will take the form of an “exemption for transport operators from the renewable energy sources fee, which is included in the electricity bills of electricity consumers and finances renewables energy generation in Czechia,” said the EU Commission. In this way, railway operators will still be able to use green electricity for their traction services while not paying the extra fee for it.
Apart from rail freight, passenger and urban mobility operators will also benefit from the support scheme, which will run until the end of 2026. In this way, Czechia aims to promote electric traction instead of diesel-powered vehicles and boost the shift to rail for freight and passengers.
“This 180-million-euro scheme will allow Czechia to support electric traction. It will help Czechia meet the European Green Deal objectives while reducing the burden of rising electricity costs for transport operators, passengers and freight customers,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president in charge of competition policy.
This article was first published by RailFreight.com.