Clean power for clean mobility: From 2026, green electricity generated from North Sea wind turbines will make the traction power mix in Germany even greener. For 15 years, the EnBW offshore wind farm "He Dreiht" will supply green electricity to Deutsche Bahn from around 20 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity.
With the amount of electricity provided from this, the entire German traction power network can be supplied for three days. To this end, DB Group subsidiary DB Energie and the Karlsruhe-based energy company EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG have signed a power purchase agreement (PPA). By procuring power from the “He Dreiht” wind farm, Deutsche Bahn will be reducing its annual carbon emissions by up to 60,000 metric tons in the future.
Torsten Schein, CEO of DB Energie GmbH:
“Deutsche Bahn will be climate-neutral by 2040. In order to get there, we will be switching to entirely renewable energy sources for the traction power by 2038. DB is already Germany’s biggest user of green electricity. With the clean power procured from the “He Dreiht” wind farm, we are now taking another important step toward restructuring our energy portfolio and getting ever closer to achieving our goal.”
Dr. Georg Stamatelopoulos, Board Member for Sustainable Generation Infrastructure at EnBW:
“The parallels between EnBW and Deutsche Bahn are remarkable: As operators of central infrastructures, we share a common responsibility for society and are pursuing the same goal of achieving a carbon-free energy future. Promoting a sustainable energy supply and mobility concept is an essential part of our agenda. We are delighted to be able to use our ‘He Dreiht’ offshore wind farm to drive this agenda with a partner like Deutsche Bahn.”
Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are central to securing and financing non-state-funded renewable energy projects on the market. These long-term industrial partnerships thus play a key role in the rapid expansion of renewable energy capacity.
Work will begin in 2024 on building EnBW’s “He Dreiht” wind farm about 90 kilometers northwest of Borkum and around 110 kilometers west of Helgoland and it will enter operation at the end of 2025.
EnBW secured the contract in the first offshore tendering process in Germany with a zero-cent bid in 2017 and is now investing around 2.4 billion euros in the offshore wind farm.
The plan is to install 64 latest-generation Vestas turbines. With a rated output of 15 MW, the turbines are among the most powerful currently available on the market. Equipped with these, the wind farm will have a total installed generation capacity of 960 MW, making it one of the largest energy transition projects in Europe. Upon completion, EnBW will take on the technical and commercial management of the wind farm and perform all maintenance and servicing tasks.
DB already covers more than 65 percent of its traction power needs with renewables – way above the figure for the public green electricity mix in Germany, which currently lies below 50 percent. All DB traction power will be 100 percent green by 2038. To achieve this aim, the group subsidiary DB Energie is fundamentally restructuring its portfolio of contract power plants and supply contracts. Renewables are gradually and systematically replacing fossil fuels. To this end, DB Energie is building up a so-called mixed portfolio for its traction power needs: The contract terms, energy sources, feed-in regions, contractual partners and pricing are mixed in order to guarantee continuous security of supply within the traction power network.
About DB Energie GmbH
By developing and providing energy infrastructure, DB Energie is playing an important role in Deutsche Bahn’s energy transition. As the fifth-largest energy supplier in Germany, the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary based in Frankfurt am Main offers railroad companies as well as industrial, trading and commercial customers a reliable, economical and sustainable energy supply. In its role as the grid operator, DB Energie manages the 7,900-kilometer-long 16.7-hertz traction power network, 50-hertz closed distribution systems and the direct current supply systems for the S-Bahn networks in Berlin and Hamburg. More than 50 power plants, converter stations and inverter stations distributed throughout Germany supply the energy, with more than 1,800 transformer stations ensuring the right voltage.
DB’s clean power comes from an ever expanding portfolio: Besides green electricity from wind farms and solar parks, DB has been running a pilot project since 2023 that is feeding solar power directly into the traction power network for the first time. The new solar power plant in Wasbek, Schleswig-Holstein, occupies a roughly 40-hectare site and will supply around 38 gigawatt-hours of green electricity annually. DB thus remains on track to continuously increase the proportion of green electricity in its traction power mix.
About EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG
With a workforce of around 27,000 employees, EnBW is one of the largest energy supply companies in Germany and Europe. It supplies electricity, gas and water together with infrastructure and energy-related products and services to around 5.5 million customers. In the course of its transformation from a conventional energy supplier to a sustainable infrastructure group, increasing renewable energy capacity and expanding distribution and transmission grids for electricity and gas are cornerstones of the company’s growth strategy and the focus of its investment spending. Between 2023 and 2025, EnBW plans gross investment of around 14 billion euros, largely in accelerating the pace of the energy transition. By the end of 2025, renewables are set to account for more than half of EnBW’s generation portfolio. The aim is to phase out coal by the end of 2028. These are key milestones on the company’s way to achieving climate neutrality by 2035.
EnBW has been actively involved in PPA matters in Germany from the very beginning: In December 2021, it announced the first power purchase agreement with Fraport AG for 85 megawatts of electricity from the “He Dreiht” offshore wind farm.