Railways To Become Net Zero Carbon Emission Mass Transportation Network by 2030
Aiming at making Indian Railways a complete green mode of transportation, the public transporter has decided to install solar power plants on its vacant unused lands on a mega scale.
With Mission Atma Nirbhar Bharat remaining the driving force, it has floated tenders for 2 GW of solar projects for Indian Railways to be installed on railway lands.
The use of solar power will accelerate Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s mission to achieve conversion of Indian Railways to ‘Net Zero’ Carbon Emission Railway by 2030.
Railways’ present demand is expected to be fulfilled by the solar projects being deployed, making it the first transport organisation to be energy self-sufficient which would help in making the state-run transporter green as well as ‘Atma Nirbhar’.
Acting upon as a pioneer in green energy procurement, it has started energy procurement from various solar projects like 3 MWp solar plant set up at Modern Coach factory at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.
According to railways, about 100 MWp rooftop solar systems have already been commissioned on various stations and buildings of the public behemoth.
Besides, one project of 1.7 MWp at Bina (Madhya Pradesh) which shall be connected directly to the Overhead Traction System has already been installed and is presently under extensive testing.
Slated to be commissioned within 15 days, this is a first of its kind project in the world commissioned by Indian Railways in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
The project involves adoption of innovative technology for converting Direct Current (DC) to single phase Alternating Current (AC) for feeding directly to Railway’s overhead traction system. The solar power plant has been established near the Bina Traction SubStation (TSS). It can produce approximately 25 lakh units of energy annually and will save around Rs 1.37 Cr for the Railways every year.
Indian Railways (IR) and BHEL officials have worked tirelessly to successfully implement this innovative project. The project was undertaken by BHEL under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.
Despite the COVID-19 lockdown and consequent difficulties faced in the availability of material and manpower, IR and BHEL worked together as a team to accomplish this mission in just eight months from the date of signing of the agreement on October 9, 2019.
The key challenge in this project was the conversion of DC power generated from solar panels to the single phase 25 KV AC power which is used by the Railways traction system. This required the development of high capacity inverters with single phase output which were not readily available in the market.
The solar panels generate DC energy which will be converted into AC energy through these unique inverters and then passed on through the transformer to directly feed power to the BINA TSS which will be used for running of electric trains.
In addition, two pilot projects for the scheme of land-based solar plants for meeting electric traction energy requirements are under implementation. One of them is a 50 MWp solar power plant on vacant unused land at Bhilai (Chhattisgarh) which shall be connected with Central Transmission Utility (CTU) and is targeted to be commissioned before March 31, 2021.
The 2 MWp solar plant at Diwana (Haryana) which shall be connected to State Transmission utility (STU) is expected to be commissioned before August 31, 2020.
Railway Energy Management Company Ltd. (REMCL) is working relentlessly to further proliferate the use of solar energy on mega scale.
Railways is also adopting an innovative concept of installation of solar projects along operational railway lines. This will help in preventing encroachment, enhancing the speed and safety of trains and reduction of infrastructure costs due to direct injection of solar power into the traction network. Another tender for installation of 1 GW solar plants along Railway tracks is also planned to be released soon by REMCL.
In its endeavors to be self-reliant for its energy needs, Railway is committed to utilize solar energy for meeting its traction power requirements and become a complete ‘Green mode of transportation’.
With these mega initiatives, Indian Railways is leading India’s fight against climate challenge and is taking significant steps towards meeting its ambitious goal of being a net zero carbon emissions organisation and meeting India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) targets.