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  • The steel sector is one of the core industries in India, contributing to about 2 per cent of the country's GDP.

  • In 2016-17 alone, IR consumed over 18 BUs of electrical energy, which is about 2 per cent of the total electrical energy generated in the country. The cost of consuming this electricity was over Rs 110 billion. It is important to note that IRs expenditure on diesel-based traction, which accounts for only about one-third of the traffic, is much higher (about Rs 180 billion) than that on electric traction.

  • IR has, therefore, been implementing a number of measures and devising strategies to optimise its energy generation and utilisation, and minimise its energy bill. These include procuring cheaper power, implementing energy efficiency practices, stepping up its renewable energy capacity and engaging in power trade.

  • In a move to expedite the complete electrification of the rail network, IR has recently advanced the deadline for 100 per cent electrification of the broad gauge network by two years to 2020-21. It has prepared a Rs 350 billion plan to electrify its entire network, a move that will help it save Rs 105 billion a year in its fuel bill.

  • While the process of electrification is under way, IR is also engaged in diversifying its energy mix in favour of renewables. IR aims to source at least 10 per cent of its energy requirement from renewables by 2020-21. It plans to set up about 1,000 MW of solar and 200 MW of wind power projects by 2020-21. Already, sizeable progress has been made in this space, creating significant opportunities for renewable energy players.

  • Innovative energy efficient solutions and techniques are also being deployed. On the traction side, it has been deploying energy efficient rolling stock with three-phase technology, regenerative braking systems, capacitor banks for improving the power factor, microprocessor-based energy meters, high HP locomotives (9,000-12,000 HP), etc.

  • On the non-traction front, the organisation has been conducting extensive energy audits, besides promoting the adoption of LED lights and fans, efficient air conditioners, etc. Its target is to provide all railway stations with 100 per cent LED lights by March 2018. The majority of the work in this area is being done under the ESCO model, which does not require any investment from IR and will help reduce energy consumption by 25 per cent.

  • A key achievement of IR has been leveraging open access to reduce its energy bill. So far, of the total energy requirement of about 2,000 MW for electric traction, more than 1,000 MW is being procured under open access. This has helped IR bring down its average cost of power from Rs 7 per kWh to about Rs 5 per kWh in states where power is procured through open access.

  • Going forward, IRs electricity requirements will continue to grow as it pursues greater electrification. To support its increasing requirements, IR is upgrading its electrical infrastructure by setting up dedicated transmission lines, implementing SCADA and using better quality transformers. It has formulated plans to lay over 8,500 km of transmission lines in the coming few years through the PPP route. IRs growing energy requirements and its plans present significant opportunities for power producers, renewable energy developers, technology providers, and manufacturers of rolling stock and electrical equipment.
  • The mission of this conference is to provide a platform to learn and share the experiences of industry experts and leaders on railway electrification, renewable energy technologies and emerging solutions and best practices. The conference will offer insights and in-depth discussions on the commercial aspects of emerging energy efficient technologies, identification of new business opportunities and the related risk mitigation options, evaluate existing policies and risk factors, and suggest improvements and explore future opportunities. It will also showcase case studies on successful pilot projects.

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