German railway feeds solar power directly into its 16.7 Hz grid

German state-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB), together with solar and wind project developer Enparc AG, has commissioned a 41 megawatt solar plant in Wasbek, northern Germany. For the first time, solar power is fed directly into the railway power grid, which in Germany is historically operated on 16.7 Hertz (Hz) instead of the public grid’s 50 Hz frequency. The direct feed-in thus avoids an additional conversion step.
The plant in Wasbek is expected to produce around 38 gigawatt hours of solar power per year, which is equivalent to one day's electricity demand in the entire German railway power grid.
According to its own information, Deutsche Bahn now covers more than 65 per cent of its traction current with renewable energies; the target is 100 per cent by 2038. However, this is not only renewable energy electricity from its own power plants, a substantial part is covered by so-called green electricity certificates, where only guarantees of origin are purchased in order to allocate the electricity. Thus, for example, coal-fired electricity, which DB will continue to draw from the Datteln IV power plant for many years, becomes »green« electricity in purely mathematical terms. According to the operator Uniper, Datteln IV also feeds directly into the 16.7 Hz grid. With the approx. 400 MW of feed-in power, it would be possible to generate a quarter of the peak power of the entire load arising in the Germany-wide railway power grid in Datteln until 2038, when the coal power plant is scheduled to be decomissioned.

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