Centre Proposes Setting of Large Solar Power Capacity Alongside Railway Tracks
Aiming to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030, India has been promptly investing in renewable energy resources. Likewise, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to set up such land-based plants alongside rail tracks in her 2020 budget speech. She also projected the setting up of large solar power capacity alongside railway tracks.
Post budget announcement, the Indian Railways revealed that about 51,000 hectares of its unused land will be used for installing solar plants with the potential to generate 10 GW of clean energy. Indian Railways has planned to source 10 percent of its electricity needs through renewable energy sources by the end of 2020.
Vinod Kumar Yadav, the railway board chairman said,
A proof of concept of feeding solar power directly to 25 kV AC traction system of 5 kVA capacity is already demonstrated. Further, to scale up 2 pilot projects of 2 MW at Diwana (Haryana) and 1.7 MW at Bina (M.P.) – already under different stages of execution & likely to be commissioned by March 2020.
He also added that the railways had installed 100.99 MW solar and 103.4 MW wind power across railway installation. The solar power will be generated and fed to the CTU/STU Grid or directly to 25 kV AC traction system.
The Budget for Financial Year 2020-21 has proposed four-station re-development projects and the operation of 150 passenger trains would be done. The process of inviting private participation is underway.
With a requirement of about 12 billion units of electricity a year, the power consumption by Indian Railways is growing at an average of 5 percent a year. Thus, railways plan to set up 1000 MW solar power plant and about 200 MW of wind power plants by 2021-22 across Zonal Railways and Production Units.
The installation of large solar power capacity alongside railway tracks will help in making the transportation mode greener. 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 2,45,000 wagons. In 2018-19, the railways consumed about 18 billion units of electricity and 3,069.3 tonne kilolitres of diesel for its traction need.
To meet the traction requirement of 30 billion units, the railways have surveyed about 4,500 acres of land which is capable of installing 1 GW solar plants. The survey for another 4,400 acres of land is currently underway.
Centre has also announced the expansion of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) Scheme, which would provide funds to 20 lakh farmers to set up standalone solar pumps.
The expansion and exploration in the area of renewable energy will help India reduce its emissions and hopefully, reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2030.
Via: Economic Times