India’s first super-fast bullet train, which will connect Mumbai and Ahmedabad, will consume 40% more electricity than what the entire Delhi Metro network requires, according to an estimate by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is executing the project.
NHSRCL said the project, once operational, will require 1,100 million units of electricity per year to power the train and the stations it will stop at. In comparison, Delhi Metro, which runs on eight lines spanning 350 kilometres serving 236 stations and connects the capital with satellite towns like Gurugram and Noida, consumes 850 million units per annum.
Officials said this difference in consumption is because bullet trains need to attain a certain speed — much higher than what a metro train is capable of — and because metro trains deploy regenerative braking, a technology that recovers some energy while stopping and converts it back into usable electricity.
According to NHSRCL, approximately 350 kilometres of transmission lines and high voltage cabling would be constructed in Gujarat and Maharashtra for the bullet train, for which the foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September 2017.
The introduction of the country’s first bullet train, known as the Shinkansen in Japan and expected to be operational in 2022, will mark India’s shift to an era of high-speed trains capable of hitting speeds of up to 350 kilometres per hour. Train 18, which will connect New Delhi and Varanasi, hit a top speed of 180 kilometres per hour during a test run in December, and is billed as India’s fastest train.
NHSRCL has already tied up with power generating companies, which will supply the 1,100 million required per year to power the inaugural bullet train.
Power requirement will grow as the number of train services increases in 2033, 2043, and 2053.
“After finalizing the alignment in October 2017, we appointed consultant to decide the power requirement for the project. After a detailed study, we have finalized the locations of substations and how much power will be required at how many locations. We have also tied up with power distribution companies so that they can start work on the transmission lines,” NHSRCL managing director Achal Khare said in an interview in November.
The official added that the consumption estimates are in line with what similar networks elsewhere consume.
According to NHSRCL, traction power requirements are assessed by electrical works contractors that carry out power system simulation studies. The maximum projected train traffic and time table is simulated using software and the electric power requirement at each power substation, location and spacing of substations is assessed.
“The power requirements of all the 29 substations and locations were finalised by January 2018 and the power utility companies in Gujarat and Maharashtra were approached. The joint surveys with power utility companies were completed by April 2018. The utility companies are now going ahead with related works,” said a spokesperson for NHSRCL.
As part of a green energy initiative, the Mumbai–Ahmedabad bullet train corridor will tap solar energy at the rolling stock depots in Sabarmati and Thane, the High-Speed Rail Training Institute in Vadodara, and Sabarmati HSR Complex.
“Power requirement is not an issue in India today, because installed capacity is almost double the peak demand. The good thing is Railways is going for solar, which will take care of lighting of stations,” said SR Sethi, a former member of Delhi Vidyut Board.
Of the 508.17-km-long bullet train corridor, 155.76 km will be in Maharashtra, 348.04 km in Gujarat and 4.3 km in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
The Narendra Modi government has set the ambitious deadline of completing the project by August 15, 2022, when India marks 75 years of Independence.
Land acquisition process for ambitious bullet train project might be going at a slow pace but the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL), which is executing the project between Mumbai and Ahmadabad, has finalised the electricity requirement for the project.