New Delhi (ABC Live):Indian Railways Solar Power: In order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, Ministry of Railways has planned to harness 1000 MW of solar power through developer mode by putting up solar plants on Railway buildings/ stations and through land based plants across the country.
This was stated by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy and Mines in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.
The Minister further stated that Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ministry of Railways for cooperation in the areas of renewable energy.
MNRE has sanctioned/approved subsidy/incentives for aggregate 500 MWp capacity to Ministry of Railways with as estimated Central Financial Assistance of Rs. 600 Crore for Grid connected solar rooftop systems. MNRE has not made any State-wise allocation under the 500 MW project sanctioned to Indian Railways, the Minister added.
Indian Railways, being a significant consumer of energy resources, it is important to identify cost-effective energy system options with least environmental impacts. Vision 2020 document of the Indian Railways states that a key target is to utilize at least 10% of its energy requirement from renewable sources. Further, in the Rail Budget 2015-16, it has been announced that : “To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it is intended to expand sourcing of Solar Power as part of the Solar Mission of Railways. Further, 1000 MW solar plants will be set up by the developers on Railway/private land and on rooftop of Railway buildings at their own cost with subsidy/viability gap funding support of Ministry of Non- Renewable Energy in next five years. This initiative of the Indian Railways would go a long way in contributing towards India’s 100 GW solar targets under the National Solar Mission. For this purpose Railways plan to use the roof top space available on its buildings, platforms, workshops and spare land which does not have much commercial value otherwise. Recently, in a study conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a conservative estimate indicates that this initiative of Indian Railways could reduce cumulative emission up to 45 Mt CO2.
To ensure that the Indian Railways achieves its 1 GW solar target, three key focus areas identified are financing, modalities of land use for solar, and streamlining of institutional mechanisms. Railways are aiming to use the solar potential available through innovative financing in PPP modes to ensure adequate financing for solar PV projects. With regard to use of vacant land, railways have already identified suitable tracts of land that could be used for setting up of large solar PV projects. For achieving these targets Railways have initiated the process for putting up 50 MW solar units on roof tops of railway buildings by involving all wings to ensure proper coordination and timely implementation.
Further, to achieve 1000 MW of installed capacity of solar PV as announced in the Rail Budget 2015-16, as part of the Solar Mission of Railways it is planned to install 500 MW of solar units on Roof Tops through Central Finance Assistance (CFA) from MNRE and additional 200 MW through assistance from MNRE under PSU scheme, and balance on vacant land for which feasibility study is being carried out.
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