The Southern Railway is toying with the idea of setting up windmills in the district in a bid to draw on alternative energy to trim its annual electricity bill.
General Manager, Southern Railway, Rakesh Mishra told reporters on Tuesday that a comprehensive project report on installing windmills was under preparation.
Mr. Mishra, accompanied by Railway Divisional Manager, Madurai, A.K.Rastogi, was inspecting the facilities at the Tirunelveli Railway Junction.
Mr.Mishra cited the case of the Integrated Coach Factory which decided to go in for the non-conventional energy programme in 2007 and installed seven windmills at a cost of over Rs.66 crore. The units, set up at Kasthurirengapuram and Urumankulam in the district, offset ICF’s total annual power requirement of 25 million units by generating 25.90 million units. They also earned Rs.2.50 crore as carbon credits.
“It is a highly useful project that saves a lot of money for the ICF now. The power to be generated by the windmill, by offsetting our power requirement, will give the investment cost back to us within 10 years. Hence, the Southern Railway is mulling (the idea of) installing its own windmills in the district,” Mr. Mishra said.
Wind turbine generators are likely to come up along the Aralvaimozhi-Muppandal-Radhapuram belt.
Mr.Misra said further that the railway track electrification up to Kanyakumari would be ready for commissioning either in April or May next year, while the Rs.300-crore gauge conversion project between Shencottai and Punalur would take at least five years for completion owing to paucity of funds.
“This is, in fact, my dream project that will pass through the scenic areas of the Western Ghats. Even the people of Kerala expect the early completion of this project, but paucity of funds may extend the execution period up to five years,” Mr.Misra noted.
The Tirunelveli Junction would get two escalators shortly, Mr.Mishra added.