Indian tower companies are making moves to set up independent renewable energy generating facilities, to help cut operating costs and reduce the sector's heavy dependence on diesel fuel.
The industry body representing Indian tower infrastructure companies, TAIPA, is gearing up to call for industry proposals to create renewable energy service providing companies. The body expects to send out a request for proposals (RFP) for the initiative next week, its director general told the Economic Times.
Telecom regulator TRAI estimates that around 60% of India's 400,000 telecom towers are dependant on diesel fuel for power, and that they burn nearly two billion liters of fuel per year. TRAI has been pressuring the companies to reduce their respective carbon footprints and dependence on diesel. But in a letter sent to the regulator last month, TAIPA said the use of diesel by infrastructure players “is not voluntary but forced on them since the electricity boards are unable to meet even a fraction of the demand for power.”
Setting up independent energy companies would allow tower providers to take matters into their own hands. According to TAIPA, any surplus power generated may be able to be sold back to India's power grid.
Indian tower companies include Bharti Infratel – the tower arm of Bharti Enterprises – Viom Networks, Indus Towers and the local subsidiary of American Tower Corporation. Bharti Infratel has already started powering some of its tower sites with solar energy, ET reported.