How is Ladakh becoming carbon neutral?

Pollution Jun 21, 2021

What is the meaning of carbon neutrality ?

Carbon neutrality refers to net zero release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by balancing emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere or eliminating emissions through carbon offsetting. Many organizations, companies, regions and countries are setting goals to become carbon neutral. Bhutan and Suriname are the only countries in the world to become carbon negative by surpassing carbon neutrality. Many countries have committed to become carbon neutral in the next few decades.

Making Ladakh carbon neutral

In August 2020 PM Modi announced that efforts are being made to make Ladakh a carbon neutral region. Ladakh is planning to adopt geothermal energy from hot water springs, solar dryers to reduce post harvest losses, micro irrigation based on solar power and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and cars. A 7,500 megawatt (MW) solar power plant will be installed in Ladakh within 5 years. Several other wind and solar energy projects will be functional in Ladakh in the next few years. The Ladakh administration signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation - Energy Center (ONGC-EC) in February this year. A geothermal field development project at Puga in Leh will be established.

Recent MoU with CESL

The Ladakh administration signed a MoU with Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) under the Ministry of Power. The MoU aims at making Ladakh a clean and green union territory along with implementation of various clean energy and energy efficiency programmes. A 5-MW Solar Power Plant at Zanskar will be installed in Kargil. According to an official statement CESL will take up solar mini and micro grid solutions, energy efficient lighting, energy storage-based solutions, efficient cooking stoves and electric mobility solutions in the UT. CESL will work to come up with clean solutions for home appliances, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and provide clean energy access and save the expenditure borne on fuel and its transport.

CESL will build an EV ecosystem and EV charging infrastructure in Ladakh which will work with renewable sources of power and electric vehicles which can work on higher attitudes. The administration of Ladakh will invest and provide assistance to CESL and The Ladakh autonomous hill development council will provide land for establishing the upcoming projects.

Sikkim, Bengaluru and some other regions in India have also committed to carbon neutrality. With more regions adding to the list India can expect to reduce its carbon emissions.

This article has been written by Harsh Battulwar for The Paradigm

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