Indian state-owned hydropower generation and transmission utility, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) [SJVN:IN], has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with engineering firm Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) [BHEL:IN] and Renewable Energy Management Centre (REMC) to jointly develop renewable energy projects for Indian Railways, as reported by the Economic Times on April 11. Under the MoU, the three parties will raise the power-consuming efficiency of the Indian Railways and lower the railway tariffs for the overall benefit of consumers. Attributed to the increased demand for renewables brought by the partnership, SJVN announced plans to ramp up its renewable energy installation to 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2023, 25,000 MW by 2030, and 50,000 MW by 2040.
India’s transport sector contributes 12% of the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while railways account for 4% of these emissions. Indian Railways aims to reach net-zero carbon emission by 2030 in multiple ways, including increasing renewables use, electrifying its traction network, and other energy-conservation measures. In July 2020, Indian Railways and BHEL established a solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh to directly power railway overhead lines before it will promote the trial project to other Indian states. Moreover, Indian Railways have deployed solar panels at over 960 railway terminals to meet the non-traction (office, railway stations) power needs. In 2020, the power consumption by traction loads (trains) and non-traction loads made up 88% and 12% of India Railways’ overall power use, respectively.