Railway MoU with USAID Gets Cabinet Approval: A Step Towards Energy Efficiency

The Indian government has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Railways and the United States Agency for International Development/India (USAID/India) to collaborate on clean energy and energy efficiency solutions. The MoU, which was signed on June 14, 2023, aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Indian Railways and help it achieve its net-zero carbon emission target by 2030.

Renewable energy and energy storage

Under the MoU, USAID/India will provide technical assistance and support to Indian Railways in developing and implementing renewable energy and energy storage projects. The partnership will leverage the collective expertise, resources, and innovation of the two sides to accelerate the deployment of solar, wind, and battery technologies, aligning with the net-zero goal.

Energy efficiency policy and action plan

The MoU also covers the development of an Energy Efficiency Policy and Action Plan for Indian Railways’ buildings, which include stations, offices, workshops, and residential quarters. The policy and action plan will identify and prioritize energy-saving measures, such as installing energy-efficient lighting and appliances, improving insulation and ventilation, and promoting behavioral change among staff and passengers.

Clean energy procurement and e-mobility

Another area of cooperation under the MoU is planning for clean energy procurement to meet Indian Railways’ electricity demand. USAID/India will offer bid design and bid management support for system-friendly, large-scale renewable procurement, ensuring cost-effectiveness and reliability. The MoU also supports Indian Railways in promoting e-mobility, such as electric locomotives, trains, and vehicles, to reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions.

Impact on India’s energy sector

The MoU is expected to have a positive impact on India’s energy sector, as it will help Indian Railways to become more energy-efficient, self-reliant, and environmentally friendly. By increasing the share of renewable energy in its power mix, Indian Railways will reduce its dependence on coal-fired power plants, which are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. By adopting e-mobility solutions, Indian Railways will also save on fuel costs and enhance its operational efficiency. The MoU will also create opportunities for innovation and collaboration in the clean energy sector, involving both public and private stakeholders.

Longstanding partnership

The MoU is a testament to the longstanding partnership between USAID/India and Indian Railways, which dates back to 2016. The two partners have worked together on several initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance energy security, and advance sustainable practices. These include installing solar panels and energy-efficient lighting and appliances at approximately 1,000 railway stations across India.

Global climate targets

The MoU also contributes to the global climate targets set by the United States and India under the Paris Agreement. Both countries have pledged to reduce their emissions intensity by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The MoU further reinforces the robust climate change and clean energy partnership between the two countries, which was highlighted during the Leaders Summit on Climate in April 2023.



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