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Last Updated : Feb 02, 2020 09:20 AM IST | Source: PTI

FM proposes solar power plants along rail tracks: Rlys says 51,000 hectares of unused land available

Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said the national transporter had planned to set up 1,000-MW solar power plants and about 200-MW wind power plants by 2021-22 across its zones and production units.

The railways on Saturday said about 51,000 hectares of its unused land was available for installing solar plants with a potential to generate 10 GW of clean energy, hours after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a proposal to set up such land-based plants alongside rail tracks in her budget speech.

Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said the national transporter had planned to set up 1,000-MW solar power plants and about 200-MW wind power plants by 2021-22 across its zones and production units.

"The railways has till date installed 100.99 MW of solar and 103.4 MW of wind power across its installations," he said.

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This was in line with the commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the International Paris Agreement on Climate Change, 2015, where India had pledged a reduction of 33-35 per cent in emission intensity by 2030 from the 2005 levels.

Sitharaman, in her budget speech, said railway land along the tracks would be used to set up solar plants.

In 2018-19, the railways had consumed about 18 billion units of electricity (around 1.27 per cent of the country's total power consumption) and 3,069.30 tonne kilolitres of diesel for its traction need.

Yadav said with 100 per cent electrification and the rail traffic projected to grow, it was estimated that the Indian Railways would be consuming around 28-30 billion units of electricity for its traction requirement. The requirement is expected to increase further with the commissioning of DFC routes and decongestion of IR routes.

For meeting its traction requirement of 30 billion units, the railways has conducted a survey of 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.

"To reduce the fuel burden of the railways, it has been endeavoured to install land-based solar plants across its network. The plants will be set up on unused vacant land. About 51,000 hectares of railway land is available, which will have the potential to generate 10 GW of power.

"The solar power so generated will be fed to the traction system," Yadav said.

The railways has also undertaken two pilot projects of 2 MW at Diwana (Haryana) and 1.7 MW at Bina (MP), which are already under different stages of execution and are likely to be commissioned by March.

In addition, the railways is also setting up a 50-MW land-based solar plant in Chhattisgarh's Bhilai, which is likely to be commissioned by January 2021.

The railways has also tied up 400 MW solar power for its traction energy need through the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited (RUMSL), a joint venture of the Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikash Nigam Limited (MPUVNL) and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

"The tender for this is likely to be opened in June. The Indian Railway is also installing rooftop solar plants at various railway installations.... By 2030, we will be feeding the entire railway network through clean energy," Yadav said.

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First Published on Feb 2, 2020 08:45 am
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