Railways intends to reduce its energy bill, which is to the tune of over Rs 34,000 crore annually, by Rs 5000 crore in five years through a comprehensive plan, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said recently.”Energy bill is the second largest in railways after salary and pension. So we have to use the energy in a such a way so as to optimise the cost,” he said here.While the diesel bill is about Rs 22,000 crore, the electricity cost is about Rs 12,500 crore a year in railways.
Addressing the global meet on “Energy Efficient Technologies in Railways”, Prabhu said, “We have to focus on energy efficiency as it is very very important. The need is to use less energy with more efficiency.”Pitching for latest technology and innovative solutions for energy saving and cost reduction, he said, “We have to make a road map for it so that railways could reduce the energy bill by Rs 5000 crore in the next five years. A comprehensive energy efficiency plan needs to be worked out.”
There are many options like solar power, wind energy, bio-diesel, waste to energy projects to reduce energy cost as well as carbon emission, he said, while adding that railways has undertaken energy audits to know the ground situation.”There is also a need to look into the demand side.Because there is a demand so there has to be supply for power.So an integrated plan needs to be worked out for looking into the power demand and how it can be reduced,” he said.
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said the target of reducing energy bill in the five-year time frame should be adhered to strictly.Railways has harnessed about 10.5 MW of solar energy at level crossing gates, solar-based street lights, solar plants at many stations including Katra solar panels on some train roofs.Railways are also planning to set up 160 MW wind mill plants to reduce carbon emission.