Regulator seeks view on energy-efficient telecom tech, equipment
The major energy guzzlers for any telecom company are its network equipment, in particular the telecom towers and the base transceiver station (BTS), which consume up to 86 per cent of energy — of which the tower site uses 65 per cent while the core network uses 21 per cent. India, with over 310,000 towers, consumes two billion litres of diesel annually. This is because 70 per cent of these towers are in rural areas, with irregular grid-based power supply. While 40 per cent of the power needs are met by grid electricity, the remaining 60 per cent comes from diesel generators.
Trai calculates that energy costs amount to nearly 25 per cent of the total network operating costs. “A typical communication company may spend nearly one per cent revenue on energy which for large operators can amount to hundreds of crore of rupees,” the telecom regulator said.
The Trai consultation paper says that total carbon dioxide emission is around five million tonnes due to diesel consumption and around eight million tonnes due to power grids per annum. “The move from diesel to solar and other alternate sources of energy will result in a reduction of five million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions as well as a savings of $1.4 billion in operating expenses for telecom tower companies,” said the regulatory body in its consultation paper.
While green house gases are an area of concern, rising crude oil prices have raised the stakes for finding alternative energy sources, with prices hovering around $ 100 a barrel mark. Brent spot prices, as of February 4, were quoting at $ 99.63. The rollout of 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) services over the next several months will only increase the consumption of diesel by the telecom companies.
“Given that the international supply and demand gap is resulting in increase in the price of diesel which would result in increase in the operational cost associated with managing networks, this may affect the profitability of operators, some of whom are already seeing profit erosion because of competition,” Trai said in its report. According to an estimate, telecom companies are currently spending Rs 300 crore a month for running diesel generators in remote areas where there is irregular grid power supply.
Globally, the Information Communications Technologies (ICT) industry’s carbon footprint constitutes two per cent of the global emissions, or 860 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The carbon footprint for the telecommunication network and devices is 0.7 per cent of the total carbon emissions, at 230 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Source: My Digital FC