The railroad has taken a number of steps to lessen its carbon footprint
The Indian Railways, one of the world's largest railway networks, has set an ambitious target to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030. The initiative is part of the country's goal to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The Indian Railways, which operates more than 13,000 passenger and freight trains, accounts for 4% of GHG emissions from India's transportation sector which emits 14% of the nation's greenhouse gases.
The railway network has undertaken various measures to reduce its carbon footprint.
In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today, Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronic & Information Technology, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw revealed that the use of energy-efficient technologies, such as switching entirely to the production of three-phase electric locomotives with regenerative features, the use of head-on generation (HOG) technology, the use of LED lights in buildings and coaches, star-rated appliances, and afforestation, are some of the initiatives that IR has taken to reduce its carbon emissions. Moreover, switching from diesel to electric traction, promoting energy efficiency, and afforestation are among the important methods that have been suggested for meeting the Net Zero Carbon emission target.
In 2029–2030, Indian Railways are predicted to have an energy demand of approximately 8,200 Mega Watt (MW). By 2029–2030, it is anticipated that roughly 30,000 MW of renewable energy capacity will be needed to achieve net zero carbon emissions. About 147 MW of solar power plants (both on rooftops and on land) and about 103 MW of wind power plants had been put into operation as of February 2023. Moreover, roughly 2150 MW of renewable energy capacity have been committed.
Moreover, IR has planned to gradually meet its future energy needs by obtaining renewable energy through various power procurement strategies.
The railways have set a target to generate 20 GW of solar energy by 2030. Indian Railways has solarised more than 960 stations till date. The goal of Indian Railways is to completely transition to a "Green mode of transportation" by utilising solar energy to meet its traction power needs. This is in keeping with the PM’s order in 2020 to solarize train stations and use unused railroad land for renewable energy (RE) projects. About 142 megawatts of solar plants and 103 MW of wind power plants have been commissioned till October 31, 2022, according to news agencies.
Furthermore, the Indian Railways is taking measures to increase the use of green fuels. It is using 5% blending of biofuels in traction diesel fuel.
The railways are also implementing measures to reduce the carbon emissions of freight trains, which are a significant source of emissions.
In conclusion, the Indian Railways' initiative to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030 is a significant step towards reducing India's carbon emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change. The railways have undertaken various measures to reduce its carbon footprint, including the electrification of the railway network, the use of renewable energy sources, and the reduction of energy consumption.