Indian Railways has set a target of becoming a ‘net-zero carbon emitter’ by 2030, said Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The Railways plans to achieve this ambitious target in two steps: A complete transition to electric trains by December 2023 and powering the trains and stations primarily through non-renewable sources by 2030.
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More About The Indian Railways to become Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030:
By 2030, the total energy requirement of the Railways is expected to increase to 8,200 MW, or 8.2 GW. A small portion of the projected energy requirement — 700 MW or 8.5 per cent of the total energy demand — will still be sourced from non-renewable sources because of the current power purchase agreements with coal plants, says the official. The lion’s share — 91.5 per cent — will be met through renewable sources.
For this, the Railways will need to create a renewable energy installed capacity of 30,000 MW as solar and wind energy is not available round the clock and the generation varies region to region. Till August 2022, the installed renewable energy capacity of the Indian Railways was only 245 MW.
Indian Railways: Significance of the Net Zero Carbon Emitter:
The move will help India meet its nationally determined contribution of reducing its carbon emissions by 33 per cent by 2030, as transport is a key sector with substantial mitigation potential.
Indian Railways: Complete Electrification:
Starting in 2014, the Railways picked up the pace to phase out diesel coaches and carry out the electrification of broad gauge railway tracks. It plans to completely transition to an electrified rail network by December 2023.
The annual diesel consumption of the Railways has dropped to 1,092 million litres in 2020-21 (till January 2021) from 3,066 million litres in 2018-19.
Besides being clean, the phaseout of diesel coaches makes economic sense, as the country imports most of its fuel.
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