A new study from Juniper Research claims that Mobile Operators have the opportunity to reduce base station CO2 emissions from 22 Mega tonnes (Mt) today to 15.6MT by 2014 if ‘transformational’ strategies are put in place to reduce both site inefficiencies and non-renewable energy sources.
The green mobile base stations report which utilised scenario-based models to derive estimates of base station power consumption, CO2 emissions and implied electricity costs, found that under the ‘transformational model’ – wherein operators invest substantially in power reduction in the base station, and place greater emphasis on addressing issues such as cooling, network planning and power management – total base station emissions would peak in 2010 and fall to 15.6Mt by 2014, achieving a 30% reduction.
The Incremental Approach
However, the green mobile networks research found that if an incremental approach was adopted – whereby operators and vendors do not become fully proactive in pursuing green policies, above and beyond delivering short/medium-term objectives outlined within current corporate social responsibility documentation, emissions would rise at an average annual rate of more than 6% over the next five years to nearly 35Mt.
Migrating to Renewable Energy
The report also stresses the need for networks which are reliant on off-grid electricity to utilize renewable resources rather than diesel-powered generators, arguing that not only do the deployment of environmentally sustainable solutions substantial erode carbon footprints but also result in a dramatic reduction in operating costs.
Indeed, as report author Dr Windsor Holden noted, “There is both an environmental and economic incentive for network operators to migrate to renewable energy. Greater reliance on diesel will not only result in an increase of CO2 emissions, but also – given the rising price at the pump allied to fuel transport costs – a level of opex which is simply not sustainable in the longer term.”
Juniper Research assesses the current and future status of mobile and the environment based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in the mobile industry.
Environmentally Sustainable Base Stations whitepaper and further details of the study ‘Green Mobile Networks & Base Stations: Strategies, Scenarios & Forecasts 2009-2014’ can be freely downloaded from the Juniper website.