Called the lifeline of the country, Indian Railways, which is still a preferred mode of transport for the masses, has started greening its act. Of the 1GW renewables target by 2021 it announced in 2015, the railways has already installed about 37MW of wind and 16MW of solar across operations by the end of March. It is further increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix by contracting out 255MW of rooftop solar projects.
Greening the railways can be a big step towards India fulfilling its solar target of 175 GW by 2022 and its commitment before the Paris Climate Agreement of 40% non-fossil fuel-based power capacity, says a new study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
The study, titled Decarbonizing the Indian Railways: Scaling Ambitions, Understanding Ground Realities, says that the railways could draw up to 25% of its electric power needs from renewables and achieve the target of 5 GW of solar by 2025. In order to achieve this, an investment of USD 3.6 billion would be needed, it says. About 1.1 GW would come from rooftop projects while 3.9GW would be from utility scale projects, said the study that was released recently by railways minister Suresh Prabhu and energy minister Piyush Goyal.