Railways targets 100% renewable power consumption by 2030

Indian Railways has announced a mega plan for installing solar plants of 20 GW capacity by utilising its vacant land, in order to achieve the target of 100 per cent sustainable energy consumption for all its power needs by 2030.

Minister of railways and commerce and industry Piyush Goyal on Tuesday held wide ranging discussions with key stake holders for innovative solutions for setting up solar projects along the railway track and across open spaces and buildings of the Railways.
This is in line with the recent directive of the prime minister to solarise railway stations and utilise vacant railway land for renewable energy (RE) projects. It will also contribute towards National Solar Mission, an initiative of the Government of India to promote solar power.
The Railways has committed to utilise solar energy for meeting its traction power requirement and become a complete ‘Green mode of transportation’.
The primary areas of discussion in this meeting were as follows:
  • Innovative solutions for setting up solar projects along the railway track.
  • Possible power procurement routes for achieving 20 GW renewable energy target and to become the net zero carbon emitter by 2030.
  • Challenges in large scale deployment of solar energy projects by the Railways.
Solar power developers expressed strong support to Indian Railways on the path of going green and achieving the net zero carbon emissions target by 2030.
As a follow up, the railway ministry has decided to set up solar power plants on vacant unused railway land on mega scale. A pilot project of 1.7 MW capacity with direct connectivity to 25 KV traction system has been successfully operationalised in Bina. In addition, solar plant of 3 MW capacity has also been commissioned at Modern Coach Factory (MCF), Raebareli for non-traction applications. Further, two more projects – one at Diwana of 2 MW and another at Bhilai for 50 MW capacity with connectivity to state transmission utility (STU) and central transmission utility (CTU), respectively are in progress.   
The use of solar power will accelerate the ministry’s mission to achieve conversion of Indian Railways to ‘Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway’, Goyal said. 
Railways has adopted a multi-pronged approach towards decarbonisation, which would be fulfilled by the solar projects being deployed, making it the first transport organisation to be energy self-sufficient. This would help in making Indian Railways green as well as ‘Atma-Nirbhar’.
To begin with, Railway Energy Management Company Ltd. (REMCL), a PSU under Indian Railways has invited bids for 3 GW solar projects to be set up on vacant Railway land parcels and land parcels along the railway tracks. These solar projects, besides supplying power to Railways at reduced tariff, will also protect the Railway land by construction of boundary wall along the track.
Goyal pointed out that the Railways is willing to extend all support to the developers for installing solar power plants on Railway’s vacant un-encroached land. Boundary wall along the track will be constructed and maintained by developers which will also help in preventing trespassing on tracks.
Adoption of modern indigenous technology to create energy self-reliant Indian Railways will contribute towards meeting India’s renewable energy targets, the minister added.