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Solar-Powered Trains For France

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SNCF Voyageurs is a state-owned subsidiary of the French National Railway Company. It is in charge of operating France’s passenger train network. SNCF Voyageurs is now aiming to have 40–50% of the rail network’s electricity coming from solar power by 2026.

Increasingly, SNCF Voyageurs is looking to get that renewable electricity supply from direct power purchase contracts from new clean energy power plants. The latest contract is its biggest, a 25-year power purchase agreement for ~207 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity a year from 4 new solar PV power plants. The solar PV power plants total 146 megawatts (MW) of power capacity.

SNCF Voyageurs states that this is the largest corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) in France to date, and one of the largest in Europe.

“With the signing of this ‘corporate PPA’, our Group is pursuing its ambitious and proactive policy in terms of energy transition and the development of rail transport, the mode with the lowest CO 2 emissions,” the company writes. “SNCF Voyageurs thus intends to achieve 40 to 50% renewable energy, including 20% ​​from ‘corporate PPA’ contracts, in its electricity consumption mix for supplying trains by 2026. To achieve this, its subsidiary, SNCF Énergie, has been piloting the ‘corporate PPA’ program since 2018 and has already signed 8 PPA contracts.”

What’s better than solar-powered train travel? Pretty much nothing!

Featured image courtesy of SNCF.

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