How DB’s traction power network is supporting the energy transition in Germany

2 mins read

Deutsch Bahn explains why its new partnership with transmission system operator TenneT will help increase its use of green electricity for traction power and help reduce network capacity bottlenecks, supporting the energy transition in Germany.

To achieve the German and European climate protection goals, a consistent expansion of renewable energies is required. We at Deutsche Bahn have therefore been committed to greening our DB traction current mix for many years and are already the largest user of green electricity in Germany. But that's not enough for us. That's why we want to work together with the transmission system operator TenneT to relieve the burden on the German electricity network and make our contribution to the ramp-up of renewables.

The challenges of the energy transition are great. For example, the largest electricity generation from renewable energies takes place in the north of Germany in the form of wind power. At the same time, consumption is particularly high in southern and central Germany, i.e. in the industrial centers and metropolitan areas. The electricity therefore must be transported over long distances.

Electricity route from north to south

This is exactly where transmission system operators like TenneT come into play, whose route runs through Germany from Schleswig-Holstein to Bavaria. Since the grid is not yet able to cope with the increasing amounts of renewable energy, the green electricity produced cannot be transported in full from the north to the south at all times.

As a result, network bottlenecks occur again and again, which means that wind turbines must be switched off. And this is exactly where we as Deutsche Bahn want to work more closely with TenneT in the future. Essentially, it's about using free capacities in the traction power network to relieve strain on heavily loaded TenneT line sections.

More green electricity in the traction power network

For us, too, green electricity must be transported from north to south in order to be fed into the traction power network. This is where the cooperation between DB Energie and TenneT comes in: In the event of capacity bottlenecks in the TenneT network, we will in future include more green electricity in northern Germany in the traction power network than before and distribute it to the south. This means that less electricity must be transported in the TenneT network and affected line sections can be relieved.

As a result, this means that with our support more green electricity can be fed into the public power grid and wind turbines have to be switched off less often. In this way, we are not only driving forward the mobility transition, but are also contributing to the ramp-up of renewable energies throughout Germany.

Pilot project starts in the first quarter of 2024

In the pilot phase, up to 40 megawatts more green electricity will initially be fed into the transmission network. Together with TenneT we want to investigate whether even greater potential can be used and expanded in the future. At the same time, we are investigating whether and how we can also relieve the burden on other transmission system operators with our traction power network. The pilot project will start in the first quarter of 2024.