Mr. Suresh Prabhu, the Indian Railways Minister, announced recently that the largest railway network in the world – India’s very own railway system – can and will save Rs.41,000 crore in the next 10 years.
The Indian Railways has planned to generate at least 1,200 MW of energy through renewable sources, 1,000 MW of which will be from solar power, and 200MW from wind energy.
Through the generation of power from these sources, the Indian Railways will be able to cut costs on its largest expense – diesel – which cost Rs.18,586 crore last year and for which an estimated Rs.23,417 crore must be set aside this year.
Over Rs.12,365 crore was spent on around 18.25 billion units of electrical energy last year for its traction and non-traction applications. This can be saved moving forward if open access and renewable energy are taken seriously.
The Indian Railways plans to ramp up the trains running on electric tracks to 90% from the current 70%. This has to be done faster, and Mr. Suresh Prabhu has mandated that the work on electrification commence at twice the regular speed and be completed well before the deadline.
The total cost involved in procuring the energy also comes down drastically through open access.
The official name of the plan is the Mission 41K Initiative, and its sole purpose is to ensure that Indian Railways cuts costs through the implementation of power generation facilities from renewable energy sources.