Indian Railways, the largest energy consumer in the country, has set a target of harnessing 1,000 MW of solar energy and 15 MW of wind energy in the next four years as part of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. “We have undertaken steps to increase the use of clean energy to reduce emissions and in this regard we have set a target of harnessing 1,000 MW of solar and 150 MW of wind energy by 2020,” said Railway Executive Director Sudhir Garg at the release of a report on ‘Decarbonisation Indian Railways’ here today.
The Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations and the Climate Policy Initiative in their reports have identified potential pathways to decarbonise the Railways by 2030. They have also examined the cost effectiveness and feasibility of the pathways, focussing on demand and supply sides of the Railways’ use respectively. According to the reports, prioritising decarbonisation of the Railways could help India achieve its 2030 emissions goals and improve energy security by reducing fossil fuel imports.
The reports suggest that decarbonisation may be a more cost-effective alternative for the Railways in the long run. Indian Railways is the largest consumer of energy and use of green energy will definitely reduce carbon footprint, Garg said. It consumes 13.8 billion units of electricity annually, close to two per cent of the country’s total power production. It has taken steps to install solar power systems at all major stations in the country.
The generation of solar energy will also help the Railways supply power to remote areas and help save on diesel consumption due to reduced use of diesel-run generators. In addition, Railways has commissioned a 10.5 MW wind mill, which supplies power to the Integrated Integral Coach Factory at Chennai, and plans to take the total capacity of wind mills to 150 MW.
To increase the solar power generation, Railways is using land stretches and rooftop spaces on railway buildings, workshops, stations, residential building.Besides, it may also set up solar power plants on wastelands, empty yards alongside tracks.