Home / News / India /  Railways reaches out to solar power developers to meet zero carbon emission aim

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has reached out to top solar power developers, including Renew Power, Hero Future Energies, Greenko Group, Azure Power and Tata Power, to meet the net zero carbon emissions target by 2030.

The companies met railway minister Piyush Goyal in this regard on Wednesday.

“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, set by the Indian Railways, to become the net zero carbon emitter by 2030. Challenges in large scale deployment of solar energy projects by the Indian Railways," an official statement said.

In the union budget presented earlier this year, finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed to set up large solar power capacity alongside rail tracks, on land owned by Railways. Soon after, state-owned Railway Energy Management Company Ltd. (REMCL) in June said it has invited bids for 3 gigawatt (GW) of solar plants that will be built on vacant Railways’ land. These solar projects, besides supplying power to Railways at reduced tariff, will also protect the Railway land by constructing boundary wall along the track, an official statement said.

In the meeting, Goyal pointed out that the national transporter was willing to extend 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 the developers which will also help in preventing trespassing on tracks, he said.

The national transporter 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.

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 for 2 MW and another at Bhilai for 50 MW capacity for connectivity with State Transmission Utility (STU) and Central Transmission Utility (CTU) respectively are in progress.

“Indian Railways has adopted a multi-pronged approach towards decarbonization which would be fulfilled by the solar projects being deployed, making it the first transport organization to be energy self-sufficient. This would help in making Indian Railways green as well as ‘Atma-Nirbhar’," the statement said.

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