Panchabuta had mentioned in an earlier essay in November that Indian Railways had announced plans of going green in a big way. At that time the initiatives include introduction of new generation electric and diesel locomotives, use of bio-diesel and procurement of minimum three-star rated products, which are all showing results in saving energy.
Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, as a first step has earlier commissioned a a 10.5-MW wind farm in Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.
The railways further announced that one hundred and fifty of the Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) machines employed in Railways are run on solar energy and they had placed an important attention on solar energy as an alternative.
In a unique model that railway had proposed, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had approved and registered the project of Improving Energy Efficiency in Indian Railways residential quarters through Compact Fluorescent. Three per cent of the Carbon Credits that would accrue from the project will also be earned by Indian Railways.
Earlier this year, Railways has inaugurated India’s first green station at Manwal on the Jammu-Udhampur rail route. In an important step, the complete work has been done departmentally by the railways by arranging solar panels from Kapurthala rail coach factory and Solar charge controllers have been purchased from market. All wiring, installation, commissioning has been done departmentally without any outside assistance.
In a major announcement, the Railways Minister, Mamta Banerjee in her budget speech declared that the state-run transporter will observe 2011-12 as the “year of clean energy”.
As Panchabuta has maintained all along, the Indian Railways and the defence sector offer huge opportunities to entrepreneurs in the clean energy, off grid solar, hybrid custom solutions space apart from the telecom tower space which has been in the news lately and seen a lot of interest from various private equity and venture capital firms. These opportunities have often talked about by thought and research leaders in this space like Narasimhan Santhanam of EAI among others in the conferences on opportunities for small and medium businesses in this space.