24 Feb 2020, 13:42
Rachel Waldholz

Deutsche Bahn wants to go green but is tied to coal

Zeit Online

The state-owned German railway Deutsche Bahn has tried to distinguish its service in recent years as a climate-friendly form of transit, highlighting its reliance on renewable power. But a 2007 contract commits the railway to take a significant amount of electricity from Germany’s newest coal-fired power plant, the controversial Datteln 4 power station, Zeit Online reports. Deutsche Bahn currently gets 60 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, and plans to increase that to 80 percent by 2030, the article says. But the Datteln 4 power plant would produce a quarter of Deutsche Bahn’s total rail electricity, potentially upending those plans. Deutsche Bahn declined to comment on Datteln 4 but said its targets stand. "We are sticking to our green electricity targets,” a spokesperson told Zeit Online.

The Datteln 4 power plant is scheduled to come online this year after more than a decade of controversy and delays. The government green-lit operations at the plant in October, despite Germany’s commitment to phase out all coal power by 2038. Recent reports suggest that energy company Uniper, which owns Datteln 4, might offer to shut down its older coal plants or convert them to gas in return for bringing Datteln 4 online.

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