The world’s largest commercial utility employer and largest rail organization is now also the world’s largest transport organisation in the fight against climate change.
The World Bank has given a first-round clearance to an Indian Railways proposal to enter the global carbon trading market.. The Bank’s approval came after an exceptional show of energy-saving by the Railways in a pilot project.
As the process goes forward, the Indian Railways will be able to earn substantial revenues by selling millions of carbon credits to developed nations, while simultaneously contributing to the reduction of global warming.
The Railways are now preparing a Project Design Document for Bank auditors. “As per estimates, we will earn around 1.1 million carbon credits in five years,” Sudhir Kumar, executive director of the Railway Board, said. Under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, each carbon credit point is worth $10.
This is how the Railways did it. In running 40 locomotives as part of a pilot project in October, they saved around 2 million kilowatt-hour of power — worth Rs 77.64 lakh. They did this by using locos powered by a technology called ‘regenerative braking’.
The kinetic energy produced by a running train has traditionally been wasted every time the train brakes. "Through regenerative braking, this energy is now going back to the overhead wires, and is used to run other locos," VK Dutt, chief electrical engineer, Northern Railway, said. The locos are being maintained in Ghaziabad, and have been powering Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and several other trains.
The Railways are a major power guzzler. Apart from regenerative braking, they have also been trying to save energy by running lighter coaches and wagons. World Bank officials in India were not available for comment.