The rising cost of diesel and improvements in solar and wind technology, means renewable energy will be the first choice for remote base station sites by 2011 says Nokia Siemens Networks.
'Solar and wind technologies are mature, they have a long life time, their operational cost is almost nonexistent and the capital expenditure required is decreasing,' Anne Larilahti, head of NSN's environmentally sustainable business, told a forum in Beijing last week, adding, 'The lowering investment cost and the increasing prices of fossil fuels work together to improve the business case of utilising renewable energy sources'.
She said power demand at the base station accounted for 90% of the energy requirement of a mobile network. In rural areas of emerging markets, where the grid was always reliable or available, base stations today were almost all being run on diesel-driven generators. As well as creating CO2 emissions, these had a much higher operating cost from re-fuelling and maintenance, according to Larilahti.
By comparison, the wind and solar base stations had zero operating cost, while the cost of diesel was high and was expected to rise in the future. NSN said it had already installed base stations running on renewable energy in around 30 countries.