Last week, the European Commission approved a package of €180 million to support Czech railway operators using electric traction. In particular, the measure will contribute to improving the environmental performance of rail transport in line with the objectives of the Commission's strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and the European Green Deal. At the same time, it provides crucial support in the context of rising electricity prices that have affected the rail industry.
The support program will run until the end of 2026 and will cover passenger and freight rail transport as well as public transport (i.e. tram, trolleybus, and cable car systems) that operate their vehicles on electric traction. As a result, the measure is intended to support a shift of freight and passenger transport from road to rail.
“This €180 million scheme will allow Czechia to support electric traction, which is a more environmental-friendly mode of rail and urban transport compared to diesel-fuelled vehicles. It will help Czechia meet the European Green Deal objectives, while reducing the burden of rising electricity costs for transport operators, passengers and freight customers,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy.
The support system will operate under the scheme of exempting transport operators from the renewable energy sources fee, which is included in electricity bills for electricity consumers and finances the production of renewable energy in the Czech Republic. Railway operators will therefore be able to use green electricity for their traction services, but will not pay an additional charge for it, as has been the current practice.