Indian Railways reports slow progress in installing clean energy | So Good News


Indian Railways, a sprawling network that ranks among the world’s largest, is a long way from generating the amount of clean energy it needs to become net carbon neutral by 2030, its own stated goal.

The organization had installed renewable capacity of 142 megawatts of rooftop solar and 103.4 megawatts of wind energy as of August, according to a statement dated Oct. 7 and recently uploaded to its website.

“Indian Railways will seek to reduce its carbon footprint primarily through sourcing its energy requirements from renewable energy sources,” the statement said. “By 2029-2030, the expected need for the installation of renewable capacity will be around 30 gigawatts.”

But at 245.4 megawatts currently, it’s only 0.8% of the way there.

A representative for India’s railway ministry was not immediately able to provide more updated figures or comment further.

Boosting clean energy for India’s rail electricity needs is a tall order considering the South Asian nation relies on dirty coal to generate over 70% of its power. However, it is crucial for India to curb greenhouse gas emissions from trains to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to become net zero by 2070.

Indian Railways said in its statement that other strategies to become a net zero emitter include “taking a multi-pronged approach to electrification of routes, shift from diesel to electric traction, promotion of energy efficiency, construction of dedicated freight corridors and green certification of railways businesses .”

Modi is seeking to modernize India’s railways, which are congested and aging, in part by banking on low-cost loans from Japan to build the country’s first bullet train and inviting investment from private firms to operate passenger trains for the first time.

Indian Railways has said it will achieve 100% electrification by 2023 and become a net zero carbon emitter by 2030, but has not publicly laid out a full plan on how to do so.

The sheer size of the rail network, which carries about as many passengers a day as Taiwan’s entire population, makes it difficult to increase clean energy sources at the same pace as growing demand.

In its October 7 statement, Indian Railways said it has electrified 52,508 route kilometers out of a total broad gauge network of 65,141 route kilometers, or about 80.6%. After Indian Railways electrifies 100% of its routes, demand for electricity will increase by 243% to 72 terawatt hours in the 10 years to 2030.

It also said it plans to offset 60 million tonnes of emissions by 2030 using various measures, including planting trees on vacant railway land, reducing water consumption and building waste-to-energy plants.

Other measures include: Setting up dedicated freight corridors to transport 45% of land-based freight by 2030, up from 36%, with the first phase of freight corridors reducing emissions by around 457 million tonnes over 30 years. Uses 5% of admixture of biofuel in traction diesel. Set up waste to energy/compost/biogas plant/material recycling plant at more than 250 stations

This story has been published from an agency feed without changes to the text.

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