Indian Railways could draw up to 25% of its electric power needs from renewables and achieve the target of 5 GW of solar by 2025, according to a study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) on Wednesday.
An investment of $3.6 billion would be needed by Indian Railways to meet the 5 GW target. A potential 5 GW target, provides an opportunity for solar developers, with an estimated 1.1 GW coming from rooftop and 3.9 GW from utility scale projects.
The CEEW study ‘Decarbonising the Indian Railways: Scaling Ambitions, Understanding Ground Realities’, funded by UNDP, identifies key policy and regulatory challenges that developers face while supporting the Railways’ renewable energy push.
The study was released by Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu, and Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal.
Prabhu said, “We want Indian Railways to become a green engine of growth. Decarbonisation is extremely important for Railways. We have set up a target of electrifying the entire network of Indian Railways in next 10 years with at least 90% of track electrification in next 5 years.”
Goyal added that Railways have come out with a plan called Mission 41K where they are looking at saving of Rs 41,000 crore through the electrification of railway lines.
The Indian Railways announced its 1 GW solar target in 2015 and had achieved about 37 MW of wind and 16 MW of solar across railway operations until March 2017.