Inching closer to their set objective of becoming 100% self-sustainable for all the power needs and becoming a Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway by 2030, Indian Railways is rapidly working on solarizing as many stations as they can. Amongst the 960 solarized stations are Varanasi, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Jaipur, Secunderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad, and Howrah. To add to this, 198 MW solar rooftop capacity has been ordered for another 550 stations under execution.
To close the distance toward achieving their goals, Indian Railways plans to use the 51,000 hectares of vacant land available to install solar plants of at least 20 GW capacity. With the possibility of solar plants increasing in number, the idea of being able to produce solar energy for all their energy needs seems more achievable than ever. The aim is to produce more than 33 billion units per year, which is an increase of 11 billion units from the current annual requirement.
We plan to use a lot of our surplus land and land along the tracks to generate 20 GW (gigawatt) of renewable energy from ‘Made In India’ solar or wind equipment being used to give us 20 GW production capacity of renewable energy and enough KW (kilowatt) hours to power our entire railway.– Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry
Along with the other goals that Indian Railways have set for themselves, they have also set an aim to meet all their traction power requirements and become a completely ‘Green Mode of Transportation’ by working towards and achieving 100% electrification by 2023. Having been classified as the nation’s largest electricity consumer, becoming a Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway would be a great achievement in sustainability for Indian Railways.
By 2030, we will be a Net Zero Carbon Emitter. Today we are transporting 1.2 billion tonnes of freight. We hope that this will go up to 2 billion tonnes in the next 5 years and will be the world’s first large railway of this dimension. – Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry
The use of the vacant lands for ‘Renewable Energy’ goes well with the recent vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ directive from PM Modi. Noting the progress Indian Railways has made over time with sustainability and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal believes that India should aim for a leadership role in Global Renewable power initiatives and connect villages as well in this futuristic program.
Further steps are being taken to achieve the target of Net Zero Carbon Emission. Railway Energy Management Company, a PSU of Indian Railways, has even ‘invited bids’ on some vacant lands along the railway tracks for 3 GW solar projects. These new solar projects will aid in the supply of power to the transporter at a reduced tariff. Additionally, and conveniently so, it will protect the Indian Railways’ land with the help of a boundary wall to be built along the rail track.
Sustainable methods to generate electricity and run daily functions have taken over the world for several years now. Indian Railways has taken a giant leap in working to generate large amounts of renewable energy. Having already solarized 960 stations and working on a further 550, they are proving to be unstoppable in their efforts to achieve the missions and goals they have set to become a Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway.