New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday proposed to set up large solar power capacity alongside rail tracks, on land owned by Railways.
The previously articulated plan will also help the national carrier reduce its power procurement costs. With a requirement of about 12 billion units of electricity a year, Indian Railways’ power consumption has been growing at an average 5% a year. The railways plan to source 10% of its electricity needs through renewable energy sources by 2020.
The national carrier has a rail network of around 125,000 km, the world’s largest, under a single management. It also has large tracts of land along its network, which will be used to set up solar power generation capacities.
Indian Railways plans to become "net zero" carbon emitter by 2030. India is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, and is among countries most vulnerable to climate change.
As the country prepares to curb pollution and cut its dependence on foreign oil; India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer after the US and China, is running what will become the world’s largest clean energy programme with an aim of having 175 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy capacity by 2022 as part of its global climate change commitments. It plans to add 100GW of solar capacity by 2022, including 40GW from rooftop projects. Wind power projects are to contribute 60GW. India currently has an installed renewable energy capacity of around 84.39GW.
Indian Railways runs around 20,849 trains daily and transports 23 million passengers and three million tonnes of freight. It operates 10,773 locomotives, 63,046 coaches and 245,000 wagons.