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  • Indian Railways (IR) is the country's biggest energy consumer, utilising about 20 billion units of power and 2.8 million kilolitres of diesel per year. Energy is the second biggest expenditure item for the organisation, accounting for about 24 per cent of its ordinary working expenses. In 2015-16, IR spent almost Rs 270 billion on energy

  • To better manage its energy costs, IR is undertaking a number of initiatives such as procuring cheaper power, improving the efficiency of power utilisation, stepping up its renewable energy capacity and engaging in power trade. Instead of relying on state discoms, IR has operationalised its deemed licensee status. The organisation has started sourcing some of its requirements through a competitive tender/auction directly from the producers. It has also contracted about 550 MW power directly from Ratnagiri Gas Power Private Limited. With these efforts, the average rate of procuring power has reduced by around 35 per cent. Overall, IR's electricity expenses declined by Rs 13 billion in 2015-16.

  • Further, IR is developing its own captive capacity, including a 1,000 MW power plant at Nabinagar, Bihar, in collaboration with NTPC. The first 250 MW unit was commissioned in March 2016. Three more units will be ready by March 2018.

  • Innovative energy-efficient solutions and techniques are also being deployed for reducing the annual energy consumption and expenditure in both traction and non-traction areas. IR has managed to reduce the specific energy consumption in traction by deploying energy-efficient rolling stock with three-phase technology, regenerative braking systems, capacitor banks for improving the power factor, microprocessor-based energy meters, high horse power (HP) locomotives (9,000-12,000 HP), etc.

  • In the non-traction area, IR has been able to reduce its consumption even as its load has increased. This has been achieved through extensive energy audits and the use of LED lighting and five-star rated equipment, building of management systems, energy-efficient water coolers and pump installations and variable-voltage variable-frequency control for cranes, lifts and escalators, etc.

  • On the renewable energy front, IR is aiming to develop 1,200 MW of capacity to meet its energy needs. About 80 per cent of capacity will be added by projects in the solar segment. IR has mandated the Railway Energy Management Company to carry out these plans. The development of solar power units aggregating about 400 MW has already been tendered. This includes 160 MW of rooftop and 240 MW of land-based solar power capacity.

  • Going forward, the electricity requirements of IR will continue to grow as it pursues greater electrification. Its power requirements, even after efficiency measures, will triple by 2030 to 49 billion units. To support its increasing requirements, IR is upgrading its electrical infrastructure. This includes dedicated transmission lines, implementation of SCADA and the use of better quality transformers. IR has already formulated plans to lay over 6,700 km of transmission lines in the coming three to four years.

  • The energy requirements and plans of IR present significant opportunities for power producers, renewable energy developers, technology providers, and manufacturers of rolling stock & electrical equipment.

The mission of this conference is to highlight IR's energy requirements for more competitively priced and cleaner power and more energy-efficient equipment and technologies. The conference will provide a forum for interaction between IR and the industry on these important topics. It will also showcase the most promising technologies and noteworthy initiatives.

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