How Indian Railways plans to go green

MoUs with USAID, CII to achieve Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission

GN Bureau | January 8, 2024

#climate action. USAID   #climate change   #Indian Railways   #CII  
Prime minister Narendra Modi flagged off new Amrit Bharat trains and Vande Bharat trains at Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, recently.
Prime minister Narendra Modi flagged off new Amrit Bharat trains and Vande Bharat trains at Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, recently.

As part of climate action, the Indian Railways aims to achieve achieve Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission by 2030. To support this goal, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between India and the United States for International Development/India (USAID/India)

The MoU, signed on June 14, 2023, provides a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector. It facilitates utility modernization, advanced energy solutions and systems, regional energy and market integration and private sector participation and engagement, training and seminars/workshops focusing on specific technology areas like Renewable Energy, energy efficiency and other interactions for knowledge sharing, the union cabinet was apprised last week.

Earlier, USAID/India had also worked with IR focused on deployment of rooftop solar across railway platforms.
The MoU signed by Indian Railways with United States Agency for International Development/India is for enabling energy self-sufficiency with the following understanding:

I.    Both the Participants intend to jointly work broadly on the following key activity areas with details to be agreed separately:

a.    Long-term energy planning including clean energy for Indian Railways.
b.    Develop an Energy Efficiency Policy and Action Plan for Indian Railway Buildings.
c.    Planning for clean energy procurement to achieve Indian Railway’s net-zero vision.
d.    Technical support for addressing regulatory and implementation barriers.
e.    Bid design and bid management support for system-friendly, large-scale renewable procurement.
f.    Supporting Indian Railways in the promotion of e-mobility.
g.    Collaboratively host event, conferences, and capacity-building programs in the mentioned identified areas.

II.    Either participant may request in writing a revision, modification or amendment to all or any part of this MoU.  Any revision, modification or amendment approved by the Participants will form part of the revised MoU.  Such revision, modification or amendment will come into effect on such date as may be determined by the Participants.

III.    This Memorandum of Understanding is effective as of the date of signing and is expected to continue for a period of five year or until the effective end of South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP) whichever period is shorter.

The MoU has been signed to support India Railways in achieving Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission (NZCE) by 2030.  This will help Indian Railways to reduce dependence on imported fuel such as Diesel, Coal etc.  Deployment of Renewable Energy (RE) plants will give fillip to RE technology in the country.  This will help in development of local ecosystem which subsequently gives boost to local product development.

Expenditure involved:
Technical assistance for the services under this MoU is intended to be provided by USAID under the SAREP initiative.  This MoU is not an obligation of funds or a commitment of any kind, and it is non-binding.  This does not involve any financial commitment from Indian Railways.

MoU with CII to promote and facilitate green initiatives

Indian Railways has also signed an MoU with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to reduce energy and water consumption lowering GHG emissions. IR and CII have renewed their MoU for third consecutive term.
The MoU was signed and exchanged on 4 January between Shailendra Singh, principal executive director/ME (EnHM & Project), Rly. Board, and Seema Arora, deputy director general, CII, in the presence of Jaya Varma Sinha, chairman & chief executive officer, Railway Board, board members and other senior officers.

Indian Railways, as a major stakeholder of transportation sector in India shared the responsibility of environment protection. IR, itself has set the Net Zero Carbon Emission target by 2030. It has a significant number of railway stations, production units, major workshops and other establishments, for which various green initiatives have been taken with the objective of environment protection and reducing the carbon footprints.

CII has been actively partnering with IR since July 2016 to promote and facilitate green initiatives over Indian Railways. First MoU was signed in year 2016 for 03 years and upon its expiry another MoU was signed in year 2019 for further 03 years.

Significant progress has been made so far under these two MoUs in achieving:       

•    Energy efficiency in manufacturing facilities and railway workshops: This initiative resulted in energy savings of 210 lakh kWh, and monetary savings of Rs. 16 crores and resulted in significant GHG emissions reduction of around 18000 tons of CO2. 
•    GreenCo rating: This initiative has been implemented in 75 Railways units (workshops & manufacturing facilities) and has improved their environmental performance substantially.
•    Green Railway Stations: Around 40 stations have achieved green certificate and have demonstrated significant improvements by saving 22 million KWh energy and 3 billion litres of water annually.
•    Green Buildings, Hospitals, Schools and Colonies: Over 40 building facilities, including administrative buildings, hospitals, schools and colonies have been facilitated to achieve green certification.
•    Capacity building and skill development: More than 20 New technology suppliers have been introduced, with around 150 IR officials have been exposed to the 06 Best energy efficient private sector plants in India. Also, around 900 IR officials trained on different aspects of energy efficiency.

Jaya Varma Sinha, chairman & CEO, Railway Board, expressed optimism about the renewed collaboration, stating, “Indian Railways has consistently demonstrated its commitment to sustainable practices. This renewed MoU with CII-GBC marks a significant step towards our collective goal of achieving Net Zero carbon emissions.” She emphasized that Green is the most desirable option, incorporated as fundamental in ‘Planning, design, development and operations’ of Indian Railway.

CII deputy director general Seema Arora appreciated the Indian Railways’ efforts in implementing green measures, reducing energy and water consumption and promoting sustainable practices across built environment. She accentuated the importance of this partnership in driving sustainable development, stating, "Our renewed partnership with Indian Railways signifies a strategic shift towards the Net Zero framework. This alignment with global sustainability goals underscores our dedication to creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable future for generations to come. We look forward to implementing cutting-edge solutions that will pave the way for a more environmentally responsible railway network”

Under this MoU, besides initiatives already being under taken, CII will collaborate in bringing new/relevant technologies and its implementation, assistance for achieving ISO 50001 certification of workshops/production units, development of Net-Zero Energy Railway station framework and an information dashboard will also be created to highlight the advancement in green initiatives throughout the year taken jointly by IR and CII.



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