Railway Energy tenders 140 MW hybrid project capacity

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Ministry of Railways joint venture the Railway Energy Management Company has invited bids to develop 140 MW of solar-wind hybrid generation projects.

Energy generated by the project capacity, which would be connected to either the inter or intrastate transmission system, will be sold for a maximum tariff of Rs2.70/kWh.

The projects that make up the capacity target can be developed anywhere in India although the energy generated will be purchased by the railway zones of Gujarat (Western Railways), Karnataka (Southwestern Railways) and Madhya Pradesh (Western Central Railways), which will enter power purchase agreements with successful bidders.

The hybrid project capacity breaks down as 18 MW of solar and 52 MW of wind for Madhya Pradesh, 14 MW of solar and 41 MW of wind for Gujarat plus 3 MW of solar and 12 MW of wind for Karnataka.

Whole-zone requirement

The Railway Energy Management Company said bidders would have to compete for the entire capacity of a zone and may also bid for all the capacity on offer, with a bid submission deadline of July 23.

Last month, under the auspices of the Indian Railway Solar Mission, Northern Railways invited bids for 133 rooftop solar systems with a capacity no larger than 10 kW and a further 677 five-kilowatt rooftop arrays for a total tender capacity of 4,715 kW.

Earlier this year the Railway Energy Management Company tendered for 60.17 MW of rooftop solar to be installed on offices, other buildings and railway establishments across India. Last year it auctioned 54 MW of wind projects in Maharashtra for a tariff fixed at Rs2.93/kWh.

Indian Railways has committed to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030. Currently the world’s second largest railway network, it is the largest consumer of electricity in India, requiring about 18 TWh per year – roughly 2% of the country’s total power generation. The railways also consume 2.6 billion liters of diesel annually – 3.2% of the diesel consumption of the Indian transport sector. The energy demand of Indian Railways is expected to treble by 2030 – to 49 TWh – due to increased passenger numbers, according to a report by the Climate Change Initiative.

The state-owned entity could source up to 25% of its energy needs from renewables and achieve a target of 5 GW of solar generation capacity by 2025, according to a study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water.