Surplus land of Railways will be used to generate 20 GW of renewable energy: Piyush Goyal
Indian Railways plans to use its surplus land along the tracks to generate 20-gigawatt production capacity of renewable energy, enough to power the entire Railways, said Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, and Minister of Railways.
“[however] we may need to expand our battery storage or form the storage to bring the cost down through innovations or use banking,” he said at the launch of Powering Livelihoods, a joint initiative by The Council on Energy, Environment and Water and Villigro Innovations Foundation. The initiative aims to provide capital and technical support to social enterprises deploying clean energy-powered livelihood appliances to enable large-scale commercial deployments.
Indian Railways is working with a mission to be 100 per cent electrified by 2023-24. This will make it the largest railway system in the world to be diesel-free and 100 per cent electric-driven, he said.
As a second step, by 2030, the Indian Railways will have zero carbon emission across its operations. Transporting nearly 8 billion passengers every year and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight — hoping to go up to 2 billion tonnes in the next five years — it will be the world’s first large railway of this scale with zero carbon emission, he said.
“The initiative with Villgro will help India get a leadership role in the global renewable power initiatives. Help us develop viable cold storage solutions with interconnect and interplay of renewable energy,” he added.
Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, said that the government is committed to eliminating dualism — between urban and rural — from the economy. In the last six years, the government has ensured that villages are connected with electricity; and now, there are plans to provide broadband connectivity, toilets in every house and road facility to villages. Currently, there is a huge difference, he said. “Your efforts will contribute to removing the dualism, and help in converting the rural landscape into an industrial landscape,” he added. Citing the example of the Chennai-based Zoho, Kumar said, the company has nearly 400 engineers working from their homes in villages in southern Tamil Nadu. “This is the route that we are taking through our initiatives,” he said.