ÖBB to invest €1bn in renewable energy by 2030 to power Austria’s railways

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ÖBB, Austria’s federal railway operator, will invest approximately €1 billion in renewable energy between 2022 and 2030, more specifically on hydropower, wind power and photovoltaics, as it works toward ending its “reliance on fossil fuels for good.”

CEO Andreas Matthä
CEO Andreas Matthä - CEO Andreas Matthä

In addition, the group aims to produce another 280 GWh in its own ÖBB hydropower plants, photovoltaic systems, and wind power plants. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by 70,000 households in Austria. ÖBB currently produces around 750 GWh of electricity in its nine hydropower plants.

Meanwhile, a further hydropower plant is currently undergoing construction. There are also four partner power plants that generate green traction current exclusively for ÖBB. As well as hydropower, ÖBB relies on solar and wind power.

Even just between 2020 and 2021, annual energy production from solar power was tripled, rising to around 10,000 MWh, according to ÖBB. This involved the commissioning of 20 new photovoltaic systems. ÖBB currently operates 45 of these systems, with another 30 planned for 2022.

This year will also see the commissioning of the first wind power plant in the world to produce green traction current. In addition, ÖBB is implementing further pilot projects to test photovoltaic systems on transport infrastructure – for example platform roofs made up of photovoltaic modules or heated solar modules for regions with heavy snowfall.

The commissioning of the revitalized Spullersee hydropower plant in October 2021 was another milestone in the journey toward sustainability and an energy revolution. This modernized plant ensures the long-term supply of traction current from 100% renewable sources. ÖBB built the Spullersee power plant nearly a century ago.

ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä, said, “Electricity production from renewable sources is vital in our fight against climate change. Austria needs to end its reliance on fossil fuels for good. The shocking events unfolding in Ukraine right now show that this isn’t just important for the environment, but also economically.

“For us at ÖBB, the only conceivable solution is to turn to domestically produced hydropower and renewable energy. A hundred years ago, our grandfathers set the first energy revolution in motion, which freed us from reliance on coal. Now it’s our turn to start the next one. It’s high time for the second energy revolution,” he added.

As a leading mobility and logistics service provider, ÖBB transported a total of 323 million passengers and more than 94 million tonnes of goods to their destinations in an environmentally friendly manner in 2021. This is thanks to the electricity for trains and stations being generated entirely from renewable energy sources.