'Better late than never', the Indian Railways have finally decided to transform into 'Green Railways' by 2030. Understanding the importance of environment conservation and seriousness of climate change, Indian Railways has decided to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2030.
A press release by the Ministry of Railways state that net-zero carbon emission will be achieved by railway electrification, improving the 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.
However, all routes on the broad gauge network have been planned to be electrified by December 2023. Not just this, the Indian Railways has also thought of completely shifting to wind and solar energy for electricity grids.
According to the Press Release by the Ministry of Railways, Indian Railways has completed electrification of more than 40,000 Route km (RKM) (63% of BG routes). Out of which, 18,605 km electrification work has been done during 2014-20. Previously, only 3,835 km electrification work was completed during the period 2009-14. Indian Railways has fixed a target of electrification of 7000 RKM for the year 2020-21.
Indian Railways has also taken several initiatives to promote solar energy. Indian Railways is working to harness the potential of 500 Mega Watt (MW) energy through rooftop Solar panels. Till date, 100 Mega Watt (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. Besides this, Indian Railways is trying to produce power from land Based Solar installations for running trains. Indian Railway has 51,000 hectares of the land potential of installing 20 GW land-based solar plants.
In the wind energy sector, 103 MW wind-based power plants have already been commissioned.
As a part of Green Initiatives, Railways has also started 100 per cent LED illumination of buildings and stations. As many as 69,000 coaches have been fitted with more than 2,44,000 bio-toilets in Indian Railways.
This growth in environment-friendly initiatives in the Indian Railways is noteworthy because if maximum people in India connect through the railways, therefore, if the railways decide to go all green, the people travelling would also try to maintain that. This motive of the Railways wouldn’t go in vain and India would soon turn to be a green place for every citizen.
-Srijani Roy Chowdhury