Bahn opens 40-hectare solar park in Schleswig-Holstein
A new solar park in Schleswig-Holstein is intended to make the rail electricity mix greener. It should deliver 38 gigawatt hours per year – that’s how much the group uses in one day.
Berlin/Wasbek . A 40-hectare solar park in Schleswig-Holstein is intended to increase the share of green electricity in the Deutsche Bahn network. The system is operated by the project developer Enerparc and has now gone online, the group told the German Press Agency. “In Wasbek, we are now feeding solar power directly into the traction power grid for the first time in a pilot project,” said Infrastructure Board Member Berthold Huber. “We at DB are thus consistently continuing on our path of continuously increasing the proportion of green electricity in our traction current mix.”
The modules of the solar park are expected to generate around 38 gigawatt hours of energy annually. That corresponds to the power requirement of a whole day in the entire German traction power network, it said.
Deutsche Bahn is one of the largest electricity consumers in Germany. The group needs ten terawatt hours every year to operate its systems and train traffic. The group always refers to the above-average share of renewable energies (RE) in its own electricity mix compared to the nationwide. Around 65 percent of all rail traffic is operated with green electricity, long-distance traffic even to 100 percent.
Still coal and natural gas as energy sources
The railway also feeds renewable electricity directly into its own network via so-called power purchase agreements with green power plant operators. However, part of the renewable share is on the balance sheet. This means that Deutsche Bahn pays for green electricity that is already available on the market and assigns it to it using so-called proofs of origin. It works in a similar way for private consumers with green electricity contracts, in which around 100 percent renewables are shown. However, the nationwide electricity mix with a significantly lower green share always comes out of the socket. Even the railways cannot do without coal and natural gas as energy sources.
Critics have therefore long been demanding that large companies such as Deutsche Bahn build more of their own renewable energy systems in order to help make the overall mix in Germany greener. With the commissioning of the solar park, the railways are taking a step in this direction, said Andreas Geißler, traffic expert at the Pro-Rail Alliance. For a long time, Deutsche Bahn has also been using green electricity directly from its own hydroelectric power plants and wind farms. “Railway hydroelectric power stations even existed before the First World War,” said Geißler. So far, however, solar energy has not played a role.
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