The Railways has set an ambitious target of going completely green by becoming a ‘net zero’ carbon emitter by 2030 through various initiatives. These include electrification of broad gauge, improving energy efficiency and switching to renewable sources.
The national transporter has also set a target of electrification of all routes on broad gauge by December 2023. It said: “Railway electrification, improving energy efficiency of locomotives and trains and fixed installations, green certification for installations/stations, fitting bio-toilets in coaches and switching to renewable sources of energy are parts of its strategy of achieving net zero carbon emission.”
According to a statement, the Railways has completed electrification of more than 40,000 Route Kilometres (RKM) (63 per cent of Broad Gauge (BG) routes). It said 18,605 km electrification work has been done during 2014-20 compared to 3,835 km in 2009-14. It said 365 km major connectivity work has been commissioned even during the Covid period.
During the Covid period, Katni-Satna section (99 RKM) of Mumbai-Howrah via Allahabad route has been commissioned providing an alternate route to Howrah.
Likewise, Pachore-Maksi (88 RKM) section on Indore – Guna-Bina route has also been commissioned providing an alternate route to Maksi-Bhopal-Bina, it said, adding that on the Howrah/Sealdah-SVD Katra via Patna route, Bhagalpur-Shivnarayanpur (45 RKM) section has been commissioned. On the route connecting Kariakal port to coal, fertilizer and steel plants in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh, Thiruvarur – Karaikal port (46 RKM) section has been commissioned, providing port connectivity to Erode, Coimbatore and Palghat.
“Indian Railways has also taken a number of initiatives to promote solar energy. Indian Railways is working to harness the potential of 500 Mega Watt (MW) energy through roof top solar panels (Developer model),” the statement added.
Till date, 100 MW of solar plants have been commissioned on roof-tops of various buildings including 900 stations. Solar plants with a combined capacity of 400 MW are under different stages of execution. Tenders are already awarded for 245 MW and target for completion of these plants is December 2022, it stated.
Besides, Indian Railways is trying to produce power from land-based solar installations for running trains. The Railways has 51,000 hectare of land potential of installing 20 GW land-based solar plants.
The solar power so generated will be fed to central or state grid or directly to 25 kV AC traction system. Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL), a joint venture company of Indian Railways (49 per cent equity) and RITES Limited (51 per cent equity), has been mandated for proliferation of taking up land-based project, it said. In the field of green initiatives, a total of 69,000 coaches have been fitted with more than 2,44,000 bio-toilets in the Railways, it added.
The Railways has set an example and other public transporters should follow the suit in bringing down pollution.