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Use of Renewable Energy in Railway  
3 Answers
Aug 24 2011 (8:33PM)

Entry# 670     
Use of Renewable Energy in Railway

Aug 27 2011 (9:58PM)
News Entry# 35810  Clients’ demands turn German rail to green energy  
Posted by: rdb*^   Added by: rdb*^  Aug 27 2011 (10:00PM)
It will not be easy to run a national railway on renewable energy like wind, hydro and solar power, but that is what Germany’s Deutsche Bahn aims to do for one simple reason: It is what consumers want.Deutsche Bahn says it wants to raise the percentage of wind, hydro and solar energy to power its trains from 20 percent now to 28 percent in 2014 and become carbon-free by 2050.“Consumers in Germany have made it clear they want us all to get away from nuclear energy and to more renewable energy,” Deutsche Bahn Energie chief executive Hans-Juergen Witschke said of the railway’s attention-grabbing revised targets that exceed the government’s already ambitious national aims.“It’s what customers want and we’re making it happen,” Witschke said in an interview.Prevailing attitudes in Germany were already decidedly green before the nuclear accident Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March prompted a head-first dive into renewables.The...
Berlin government abruptly reversed course on nuclear power, shutting eight nuclear plants and vowing to close the other nine by 2022.That caught Deutsche Bahn — and German industry — off guard. The state-owned railways had relied heavily on nuclear energy. However, now the public and industry are increasingly attuned to sustainability and what companies are doing, Witschke said.Some transport industry analysts are skeptical.“It sounds like a bit of ‘green-washing,’” said Stefan Kick, an analyst at Silvia Quandt Research, a Frankfurt brokerage. “Obviously costs for renewable energy are going to be higher. Yet if customers are truly willing to pay, it could make sense.”
The railway’s new push for a larger share of renewable energy to operate trains that transport 1.9 billion passengers and 415 million tonnes of freight each year has won applause from environmental groups.They have cheered Deutsche Bahn’s partnerships with wind and hydroelectric power suppliers and its exploratory moves into harvesting solar power from the roofs of its 5,700 stations.Previously, environmentalists had accused the firm of neglecting to develop renewables on its vast properties and because of its heavy reliance on nuclear power.
Peter Ahmels, a renewable energy specialist at the German Environmental Aid Association (DUH), said the railways could have done more with wind and solar on its property holdings.
Instead, he said Deutsche Bahn had relied complacently on its image as a low-emission mode of transport.It could do this because even high speed trains have carbon dioxide emissions per passenger per kilometer of 46g, compared with an average 140g for cars and 180g for planes.“Since Fukushima, Deutsche Bahn has been moving in the right direction,” Ahmels said. “There’s clearly a new thinking on the board. They’re doing sensible things. Before they resisted. The argument was that renewables were not their core business.”Deutsche Bahn also operates myriad local rail operations in towns and cities. Some operations, such as local railways in Hamburg and Saarland, already run on 100 percent renewable energy and proudly boast about that in advertising.To run its trains the railways use a staggering amount of electricity every year: 12 terawatt hours. That is as much as Berlin with its 3.2 million residents consumes.The railways alone use 2 percent of Germany’s total electricity. A single high-speed ICE train traveling from Frankfurt to Berlin uses 4,800kwh, enough for a four-person family for a full year.Germany is already a world leader in renewable energy. About 17 percent comes from renewables, up from 6 percent in 2000.The German government aims to raise that share to 35 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Witschke said Deutsche Bahn will have 35 or 40 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by the middle of the century.Some passengers and business partners, such as carmaker Audi, already voluntarily pay small surcharges for carbon dioxide-free transport packages that guarantee green power is used.To help meet their targets, Deutsche Bahn has been operating two wind farms in Brandenburg and last month signed a 1.3 billion euro (US$1.88 billion) deal with utility RWE to get 900 million kwh a year from 14 hydroelectric plants — enough for 250,000 households.Because there are still questions about the reliability of renewable energy until the storage capacities can be increased, Witschke said he carefully tracks the wind parks to learn more.The hydroelectric deal with RWE runs for 15 years and will supply the railways with about 8 percent of its needs.“It does have quite a symbolic impact when the country’s largest electricity user takes such a big step into regenerative energy,” Witschke said. “We’re also one of the biggest electricity users anywhere in Europe. It’s not going unnoticed.”

Aug 26 2011 (8:20PM)
News Entry# 35660  National rail operator strengthens commitment to renewables  
Posted by: rdb*^   Added by: rdb*^  Aug 26 2011 (8:21PM)
The German rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, has revealed that it wants to raise the percentage of wind, hydro and solar energy used in powering its trains from 20 percent at present to 28 percent in 2014. It has also set itself an ambitious challenge to become carbon-free by 2050.It is well known that Germany has long been a leader in renewable energy, and with the strong commitment shown by German companies such as Deutsche Bahn (DB), this leadership is likely to continue. Indeed, DB bills itself as the "biggest consumer of green energy" in Germany.The German national railway operator recently signed a 15-year hydro-electric supply contract worth €1.3 billion with power company RWE, as part of its on-going effort to ramp up its renewable energy use to 28% by 2014. The contract covers the period from 2014 to 2028 and is to involve output from 14 hydro-electric generating plants. "Consumers in...
Germany have made it clear they want us all to get away from nuclear energy and to more renewable energy," Hans-Juergen Witschke, Chief Executive of Deutsche Bahn Energie, told Reuters in a recent interview. "It's what customers want and we're making it happen. The demand for green electricity keeps rising each year and that'll continue."RWE is to supply the railway operator with about 900 million kilowatthours of electricity per year, enough to run about one third of the DB's long distance trains for a year. The same quantity would supply 250,000 German households for a similar period. ""With this move, we are getting closer to our vision of meeting all the railways' electricity needs with renewable energy by 2050," DB Chairman, Ruediger Grube, said in a recent statement.
Response to nuclear phase-out
DB’s latest decision to boost its renewable energy use comes off the back of the German government’s decision to reverse its stance on nuclear power, shutting eight plants and announcing the closure of a further nine plants over the next 20 years. The news put DB in a difficult position, since its railways alone use 2 percent (12 terawatt hours) of Germany's total electricity, much of which comes from nuclear power.Environmentalists have applauded DB’s stance on forming partnerships with wind and hydroelectric power suppliers and its moves towards generating electricity using solar panels installed on the roofs of its stations, such as the array on the roof of Berlin's main station, which produces 160,000 kw/h of electricity a year (covering about 2 percent of the Hauptbahnhof station's demand). DB also operates two wind farms in Brandenburg. Witschke believes this latest deal with RWE has "quite a symbolic impact” given that his company, which is the largest electricity user in German, has taken “such a big step into regenerative energy"."We're also one of the biggest electricity users anywhere in Europe. It's not going unnoticed,” he said.RWE, which is the second biggest German power group, is working to build up its capacity to produce more renewable energy to meet the demands of customers such as DB as the government phases out nuclear power. By 2013, RWE says it will have invested almost €4 billion in expanding its alternative energy production capacity.

Aug 24 2011 (8:32PM)
News Entry# 35385  Germany powers railway with renewables; could Amtrak do better?  
Posted by: rdb*^   Added by: rdb*^  Aug 24 2011 (8:33PM)
Germany’s national railway company will soon be powering one-third of its long-haul train fleet with renewable energy, evoking the question, how does the United States’ transit infrastructure stack up, and could it do better?Deutsche Bahn today signed a long-term agreement to purchase hydroelectric power from Germany energy supplier RWE. Under that agreement, RWE will supply 900 million kilowatt hours of clean energy annual over the next 15 years.That’s enough to provide electricity to over 250,000 German households, according to RWE. I’m wondering how much energy Amtrak could obtain from renewable sources located along its corridors throughout the country.The Northeast corridor hugs the coastline from New York to Boston and passes over waterways on the way down to DC. Travel tip: If you take the Acela going north, sit on the right side of the train.It’s clear to any rider that there’s ample opportunity for wind and tidal power projects to become...
involved in powering the railway in the future. AMTRAK has the right real estate for it to happen, and its geographic ubiquity makes it possible for more than one solution to be included in the mix.California Amtrak has already equipped some of its fleet with solar panels, and uses cars equipped with regenerative braking systems (AMTRAK’s upgrading its Keystone and Northeastern fleets with similar cars by 2013). It recently received funding for that modernization.Other infinitives have been trains running on 20 percent biodiesel fuel mixtures on AMTRAK’s Heartland Flyer route, and rail yards were outfitted with solar panels and wind turbines in Chicago and Pennsylvania. I’ll be contacting AMTRAK to learn more about its future energy plans during its business hours tomorrow.An AMTRAK spokesperson said, “Though the article notes the potential land based alternative energy opportunities on the Corridor, Amtrak owns a very narrow section of property along the right-of-way and would need to purchase and/or lease enough space for any large solar or wind power installation.”It would be terrific to see entrepreneurs working with AMTRAK to propose plans for retrofitting its numerous bridges with wind turbines or building dedicated offshore power projects. The notion of investing more into public transit swims against the tide of austerity in Washington, but would very likely pay for itself over the long run. Sometimes its nice to think that the U.S. can still do big things.
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