Indian Railways to become ‘Atma Nirbhar’, set to install solar plants by 2030

New Delhi: Indian Railways would meet its energy consumption needs of more than 33 billion units by 2030, said Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal during a meeting with key stakeholders on Thursday, adding that solar plants of 20 GW capacity would be installed by the same year on the Railways’ vacant land.

In a bid to empower Indian Railways to be energy self-sufficient (Atma Nirbhar), solar power plants are expected to be available on a mega scale and boundary walls along the track would also be constructed and maintained by developers which will possibly help in preventing trespassing on tracks.

The use of solar power is expected to accelerate Goyal’s mission to achieve Indian Railways’ conversion to a ‘Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway’.

“In order to achieve this, Indian Railways has developed a mega plan for installing solar plants of 20 GW capacity by utilising its vacant land by 2030.

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With the ambitious plan of achieving 100 per cent electrification for Railways by the year 2023, Indian Railways energy consumption is set to become more than 33 billion units by 2030 from its current annual requirement of about 21 billion units,” the statement, issued by the Ministry of Railways, read.

Several issues such as innovative solutions for the setting up of solar projects along railway tracks, possible power procurement routes, and challenges in large scale deployment of solar energy projects were discussed at the meeting chaired by the Union Railways Minister.

“The developers acknowledged the efforts of Indian Railways in leading the development of renewable energy in the country and expressed strong support to the Railways on the path of going green and achieving the net-zero carbon emissions target by 2030, in line with the Prime Minister’s directive to solarise railway stations and utilise vacant railway land for renewable energy projects,” the statement further read.

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It listed out the projects which have been completed such as a pilot project of 1.7 MW capacity with direct connectivity to 25 KV traction system in Bina, a solar plant of 3 MW capacity which has been commissioned at Modern Coach Factory, Raebareilly for non-traction applications.

Besides, two more projects are in progress — one at Diwana for 2 MW and another at Bhilai for 50 MW capacity for connectivity with State Transmission Utility and Central Transmission Utility respectively.

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