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Harnessing Green Energy

Because of the volume of IR’s energy consumption, prioritizing decarbonization of Indian Railways could help India achieve its 2030 emissions reduction goals as well as improve energy security by reducing fossil fuel imports. In addition, decarbonization may be a more cost-effective option for IR in the long run. To showcase potential of investment in Indian Railway to make it 100% decarbonisation with sustainable electrification, Institution of Railways Electrical Engineer (IREE) has organized an International Conference on “ Decarbonization of IR -Mission Electrification” on 3rd November 2016, in New Delhi (picture #1). This conferencealso aimed for giving boost to Make in India and Innovative India campaigns of Hon’ble Prime Minster. This conference will also be a small step towards accomplishing the target of 175 GW renewable energy including 100 GW solar energy by 2022.

Solar Energy

As part of Indian Railway’s Solar mission and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, keeping in line with Budget (2015-’16 ) announcement of Hon’ble MR, Railways plan to set up 1000 MWsolar power plant in next few years. As part of this, IR will setup solar power plant on rooftops of Railway stations, buildings and on Railways land as under:

(I) 500 MW solar plants on roof top of Railway buildings through developer mode with PPA by Railways, which will be used for meeting non- traction power supply loads.
(II) 500 MW solar plants to be put up on land based systems with PPAs to be signed by railways with developers, primarily to meet traction power supply.

Indian Railways started putting up solar power plants in 2014-’15, on administrative buildings, stations & hospitals. The harnessing of solar energy was enhanced in the following year taking the total capacity to about 14 Mega Watt (MW) by 2015-’16. This includes one MW solar power plant on rooftop of Katra Railway station. Further to it order for 6.5 MW solar power (five locations each of 500 KWp, 20 locations each of 100 KWp, 200 locations each of 10 KWp) has issued. The mechanism available under the Electricity Act, 2003, this power can be consumed in the railway grid-paving way to steady decarbonization of Indian Railways.

   Picture #2: One MW Rooftop Solar power plant at Katra Railway station.
    Picture #3: 500 kWp Solar rooftop power plant at Varanasi Railway Station.
   Picture #4: 500 kWp grid connected Solar rooftop power  Plant at Secunderabad Station.
  Picture #5: Solar rooftop power plant at Jaipur Railway station.

To harness solar energy on large scale, Zonal Railways under phase-I, have been allocated installation of 50 MW capacity. These plants will be installed by June 2017. Further to it, Zonal Railways have identified additional capacity for installing 100 MW solar power on roof top. REMCL shall invite tenders for the same. For all these rooftop installation Viability Gap Fund (VGF) from Ministry of New Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been provided. Further tenders for rooftop installations will be floated in a phase manner for additional 350 MW under the MNRE’s incentive scheme and the consultancy work is given for M/s. Central Electronics Limited (CEL) for assessing capacity. Harnessing the total expected capacity of about 500 MW on the rooftop for Railway Buildings.

Following actions have been taken for installation of 500 MW solar plants on land systems:

  1. 50 MWp is been set up for meeting Railways needs through Reva Ultra Mega solar Limited (RUMS) in M.P.
  2. 40 MW will be setup through Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI)for traction load with battery backup (30 minutes) as per MNRE special scheme.
  3. 150 MW solar power will be setup through SECI for meeting non traction power requirement.
  4. For balance about 250 MWRailway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) will be working out various options.

Following graph (figure #1) shows the plan of deployment of solar generation: As can be seen that initially rooftop projects are taken to create needed momentum of the project.

   Figure # 1: Deployment of solar.

For development of different types of Renewable Energy Technology Projects on Indian Railways like (off grid/grid connected like solar panel) etc. on Railway coaches & other Rolling stock, stations, innovative use of vacant Railway spaces etc in the field of Solar, Wind & Hybrid or waste to electricity or any new types of applications/installations or any other application suitable for Railways, An Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Science & Technology on 2nd November 2016 at Railway Board, New Delhi for collaboration in efforts for developing & utilization of Renewable Energy Technologies like solar energy in Indian Railways as the Government of India (GoI) has identified the power sector as key to achieving the goals of sustainable economic growth (picture #6).

   Picture #6: MoU Signing between Ministry of Railways & Ministry of Science & Technology.

Harnessing Wind power for Railways

Indian Railways has planned to set up 192.5 MW of wind mill power plants. Out of this 10.5 MW capacity wind mill plant has already been set up in Triunelveli Distt. Tamil Nadu for meeting energy demand of Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai. This mill has generated 127.69 million units till March 2016. Further 26 MW windmill power plant was commissioned in October 2015 in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan through Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL) and this wind mill has generated more than 60 lakh units since then. Further to it, the installation of balance capacity is planned through tariff based bidding and partly through Railways investment (through REMCL).

These capacities will be created based on the requirement of non-solar RPO obligation in various states. IR is planning to install 56 MW wind mill through tariff based bidding for non-traction load in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh states and 100 MW Wind mill plants shall be taken by REMCL.


India currently stands at a moment of opportunity in which it is evident that transitioning to low-carbon systems can bring about economic growth. The falling costs of renewable energy, ambitious government plans for rapid deployment of renewable energy, and increasing financial support from international governments and investors all indicate that the transition to a low-carbon economy is not only possible, but already underway. As IR is the single largest consumer of electricity in India, consuming about 18 TWh per year, or roughly 2% of the country’s total power generation, prioritizing decarbonization of Indian Railways could help India achieve its 2030 emissions reduction goals as well as improve energy security by reducing fossil fuel imports. Targeting 100% decarbonization of IR, is a strategic example for the transportation sector as well as to the Indian industry as a whole. As part of this strategy IR has planned to set up 1000 MW solar power plant and 192.5 MW of wind mill power plants in next few years across Zonal Railways & productions units.

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