US agency to execute railway CFL project

New Delhi (PTI): In a first of its kind initiative, Indian Railways is awarding a contract to a US-based agency to replace 26 lakhs incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient CFLs in railway households free of cost.

“Railways have issued the Letter of Intent to International Resources Group (IRG) to implement the CFL project in its colonies,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

IRG will provide four CFL bulbs to each house in railway residential colonies free of cost and earn carbon credits by registering itself with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project.

Railways have total 6.5 lakh houses across the country.

“It is win-win situation for us. We are earning three per cent of total carbon credits earned from the CFL project without investing anything in it,” said the official.

IRG, which is to deposit bank draft worth Rs 50 lakhs as security deposit, will earn 97 per cent of total carbon credits for the project.

According to experts, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are four times more energy efficient and railways are expecting to save 130 million units of power per year from the project.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad is likely to announce the implementation of the CFL project in the interim rail budget on February 13 in parliament.

Besides CFL project, railways are gearing up to earn carbon credits by running new generation trains on clean fuel.

According to the Kyoto Protocol, one carbon credit can be earned by preventing generation of a tonne of carbon dioxide. One carbon credit is worth USD 10 as per the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change guidelines.

Railways have signed two letters of intent with the World Bank to get carbon credits for its projects dealing with regenerative braking system and locomotives.

The new train will be fuel-efficient and will run on low-emission fuel. This would enable the railways to reduce the pollution level to a great extent besides earning carbon credits.

Introduction of solar-based lighting at level crossings and use of renewable sources of energy for railway applications are some of the measures undertaken by the railways to generate certified emission reduction.

Indian Railways spends about Rs 12,000 crore on energy which is about 29 per cent of its working expenses.Railways consume about 12.8 billion units of electricity and around 2 billion litres of diesel every year.