Nearly 120,000 cellular base stations will be running on renewable energy in the next three years, says the GSMA. With fewer than 2,000 base stations using green energy sources today, this self-imposed target might look more than ambitious to many within the industry given that high-speed 3G data networks call for a higher density of base stations.
However, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) said renewable energy would become its first choice for powering base station sites by 2011. It currently has about 300 renewable energy base stations, which the company admits is a very small amount. Even Anne Larilahti, the head of environmentally sustainable business at NSN, admitted it was hard to get this green initiative moving forward but there are some factors helping take-up. "There are more financing tools available and the business case keeps looking better when wind and solar prices are coming down." To help with this move the GSMA has said it is working with banking institutions to improve financial packages to better support renewable energy.
An example that might persuade the banks and operators that a move to renewable energy makes sense came from the Finnish telecoms company Elisa, which last week announced it planned to pilot a wind turbine for powering one of its mobile networks in Finland, and estimated wind power could reduce the network's operating costs by 10 per cent. If the results of the pilot test are worthwhile, Elisa said it might expand its use of wind power.
For more on this story:
Report: Going green equates to savings... eventually
Vodafone says it's not easy being green, but it'll try
Report: Mobile industry greenlights eco-friendliness
Vodafone goes green in Germany