Railways set to boost PPP initiative

Written by Rajat Arora | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 17 2013, 06:34am hrs
n Plans to bring in private sector players to set up renewable energy projects

Railways plans to give further wind to its PPP initiative, bringing in private sector players to set up renewable energy projects under a joint venture mechanism. The national transporter is currently implementing a plan to produce 157 MW power from wind energy on its own with a total investment of about R1,100 crore. This would be followed up with a more comprehensive strategy to bring private sector expertise in this specialised area of power generation and help it achieve the targeted generation of 10% its overall energy from renewable sources by 2020.

At present, we are implementing our wind energy projects on our own but in future well definitely look at exploring the possibilities of public private partnership (PPP), said a senior rail board official.

Railways currently uses about 4,000 MW of power to operate its network. This is expected to rise by another 1,000 MW in next four years time. All its requirements are sourced from state-owned power distribution companies. The aim is to reduce railways energy dependence from outside sources by developing large-scale in-house capabilities that would also help in reducing the overall energy bill from current levels of R8,000 crore annually. In the 12th Five-Year plan, railways is expecting an investment of R6,000 crore in its energy projects, including thermal, gas, wind and solar plants.

The newly formed railway energy management company (REMC) will implement R1,100 crore project. Land for production of 25 MW of wind energy has already been identified near Jaisalmer, a senior rail board official told FE.

REMC is jointly owned by RITES and Indian Railways. Railways consumed over 16.6 billion units during 2011-12 and paid electricity bill of about R8,715 crore for traction and non-traction applications. The railways is expecting an increase of R1, 500 crore in its electricity bill next year due to revision of power tariff and increase in its electrified track. At present, 35% of the total railway network is electrified.

At present, close to 65% of freight and 50% of passenger traffic is carried using electronic locomotives. With 3,300-km 100% electrified dedicated freight corridors coming into existence by 2017, the share of freight pulled by electronic locomotives is going to rise further.

The national transporter has already commissioned its first wind mill plant of 10.5 MW capacity in Tamil Nadu in March 2009 to meet the major load requirement of Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Perambur, Chennai.

On track

* Railways currently uses about 4,000 MW of power to operate its network

* This is expected to rise by another 1,000 MW in next four years time

* The aim is to reduce railways energy dependence from outside sources