India’s intent to move to clean energy and to not depend on fossil fuel is solid. The country has assumed a leadership role in the One World One Sun One Grid project that aims at harnessing the power of solar energy and reduce reliability on fossil fuels. It is proving its worth by adopting solar energy in the internal operations as well.
In support of this, the Indian Railways has announced that it has decided to be self-reliant for its energy needs by utilizing its vacant lands for Renewable Energy (RE) projects. Railways will utilize solar energy for meeting its traction power requirements. BHEL is one of the seven Maharatna companies, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Scheme, has partnered with the railways to work on the project.
It was announced in January 2020, that the entire network of the Indian Railways will run on electricity by 2024 and become a net-zero emission network by 2030. To make this operational, Indian Railways is adopting an innovative concept of installation of solar projects along operational railway lines. This will not only result in transformation of railway to clean energy, thus contributing significantly to reducing carbon emissions, but will also prevent encroachment along the railway tracks, enhance the speed and safety of trains and reduce infrastructure costs due to direct injection of solar power into the traction network.
With this mega initiative, Indian Railways is leading India’s fight against climate challenge significantly. It is thereby 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. This would also help in making Indian Railways a complete ‘Green mode’ of transportation and energy self-sufficient transport organisation. This is the first of its kind project in the world authorised by Indian Railways in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
The initiative involves the adoption of innovative technology for converting Direct Current (DC) to single-phase Alternating Current (AC) for feeding directly to Railway’s overhead traction system. It can produce approximately 25 lakh units of energy annually and will save around Rs. 1.37 crore for Railways every year.