20 Apr 2023, 12:31
Sören Amelang

Renewable operators accuse German rail company of slowing energy transition

WirtschaftsWoche / Spiegel

Renewable energy operators and lobby groups have accused Germany’s public rail company Deutsche Bahn of slowing the energy transition by massively overcharging for the permission to put power cables under railway lines, reports WirtschaftsWoche. German Wind Energy Association BWE called Deutsche Bahn’s demands “modern highway robbery” after the rail company recently charged several wind farm operators more than 100,000 euros. Wind farm operator Wittgenstein told the publication that comparable permissions had cost only 4,000 euros until recently. Renewable energy operator Juwi also said Deutsche Bahn had charged 90,000 euros for cables crossing a railway line, ten times last year’s price. Several renewable energy projects could fail to materialise because of the charges, according to the investors, who asked policymakers to intervene. Social Democrat (SPD) and Green politicians told Spiegel Online they were concerned about Deutsche Bahn’s conduct and promised to speak to the company.  

Germany wants to fight the climate crisis and its heavy dependence on fossil fuel imports by speeding up the rollout of renewables with a massive overhaul of key energy legislation. In the “biggest energy policy reform in decades,” the coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) proposed to lift the rollout of wind and solar power “to a completely new level,” aiming to free up new land for green power production, speed up permit procedures, and massively increase wind and solar additions.

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