Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), India’s largest and one of the world’s largest subway systems, is in the headlines once again due to its growing efforts towards sustainability.
DMRC has become the first metro project in India to source power from amwaste-based power plant. The project also sources power from a large-scale solar power project located in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Apart from these ground-based renewable energy power plants, DMRC also operates rooftop solar power systems with a combined installed capacity of 28 megawatts.
The power will be supplied from a power plant located in eastern Delhi near a huge landfill. The power plant currently processes 1,300 tons of waste daily but was designed to handle 2,000 tons. The generation capacity of the power plant is 12 megawatts and DMRC shall procure 17.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from it every year. The power plant is located close to the ‘Pink Line’ of DMRC, the longest part of the 343-kilometer network.
The power plants uses its fuel from the Ghazipur landfill located at the border of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the state of Uttar Pradesh. The landfill reached its saturation point way back in 2002 but continues to be used by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation despite being a safety hazard and the cause of at least one major accident.
Sourcing of power from this power plant has multiple advantages for DMRC — fulfillment of its Renewable Purchase Obligation, if any, continued commitment towards sustainability which is central to its operational since the beginning, and suitable use of thousands of tons of waste generated in Delhi on a daily basis. But this initiative is too little to address the problem of waste management in Delhi.
The Ghazipur landfill has already amassed 13 million tonnes of waste. Even if no new waste is added to the landfill it would take this power plant over 27 years to process the waste and make the landfill disappear. All stakeholders would definitely want this mountain of garbage to disappear as it is now on course to rise higher than the Taj Mahal which stands at 73 meters.
In 2016, DMRC signed a power purchase agreement with a 750 megawatt solar power park. The metro system is expected to receive 121 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year from the solar park which can be increased to 363 million kilowatt-hours per year. DMRC started receiving energy from the solar park earlier this year.