In January 2018, Germany notified the Commission of a scheme to provide public support for investment in technologies to make rail transport more cost and energy efficient. The scheme has an overall budget of €500m and will run from 2018 to 2022.
Through the scheme, approved under European Union (EU) state aid rules, companies providing electrically-powered rail transport services may be compensated for up to 50% of expenses incurred from energy-efficiency measures, such as the purchase of modern energy-saving rolling stock including hybrid locomotives or automated solutions that allow rail transport companies to increase their energy efficiency.
To benefit from this public support, rail transport companies must demonstrate a year-on-year improvement of 1.75% in their energy efficiency. From 2020, this energy efficiency must increase by at least 2% year-on-year for companies to be eligible for support.
“Electrically-powered rail transport is one of the most environmentally-friendly transport options,” says Ms Margrethe Vestager, competition policy commissioner. “By promoting a shift from road to rail, the German scheme will contribute to meeting the EU's environmental and transport objectives, without distorting competition.”