MoU between India and the USAID to achieve Net Zero Carbon Emission in Indian Railways

GS Paper III

News Excerpt:

The Union Cabinet approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United States for International Development/India (USAID/India), on June 14, 2023, for supporting Indian Railways (IR) to achieve the Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission by 2030.

The MoU signed by Indian Railways with the USAID/India is for enabling energy self-sufficiency with the following understanding:

  • Firstly, both Participants intend to jointly work broadly on the following key activity areas with details to be agreed upon separately:
    • Long-term energy planning including clean energy for Indian Railways.
    • Develop an Energy Efficiency Policy and Action Plan for Indian Railway Buildings.
    • Planning for clean energy procurement to achieve Indian Railway’s net-zero vision.
    • Technical support for addressing regulatory and implementation barriers.
    • Bid design and bid management support for system-friendly, large-scale renewable procurement.
    • Supporting Indian Railways in the promotion of e-mobility.
    • Collaboratively host events, conferences, and capacity-building programs in the identified areas.
  • Secondly, either participant may request in writing a revision, modification, or amendment to all or any part of this MoU.  Any revision, modification, or amendment approved by the Participants will form part of the revised MoU.  Such revision, modification, or amendment will come into effect on such date as may be determined by the Participants.
  • Finally, this Memorandum of Understanding is effective as of the date of signing and is expected to continue for five years or until the effective end of the South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP) whichever period is shorter.

Significance of this MoU:

  • The MoU provides a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector.  
  • The MoU facilitates utility modernization, advanced energy solutions, and systems, regional energy, and market integration.
  • It also facilitates private sector participation and engagement, training, and seminars/workshops focusing on specific technology areas like Renewable Energy, energy efficiency, and other interactions for knowledge sharing.
  • Earlier, USAID/India had also worked with IR focused on the deployment of rooftop solar across railway platforms.

Expenditure involved: 

  • Technical assistance for the services under this MoU is intended to be provided by USAID under the SAREP (South Asia Regional Energy Partnership) initiative.  
    • SAREP is a flagship program to advance the objectives of the U.S. Government’s Clean Asia Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy (Clean EDGE) initiative.
    • SAREP improves access to affordable, secure, reliable, and sustainable energy in six countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – to strengthen systems and processes in line with the economic and energy-security priorities of these countries.
  • This MoU is not an obligation of funds or a commitment of any kind, and it is non-binding.  
  • This does not involve any financial commitment from Indian Railways.

What will be the impact of this action?

  • The MoU has been signed to support Indian Railways in achieving Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission (NZCE) by 2030.  
  • This will help Indian Railways to reduce dependence on imported fuel such as Diesel, Coal etc.  The deployment of Renewable Energy (RE) plants will give a fillip to RE technology in the country.  
  • This will help in the development of the local ecosystem which subsequently gives a boost to local product development.

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