Boosting the growth of distributed energy generation
Researchers from Guidehouse Insights found that telecom operators are progressively deploying distributed power generation systems and distributed energy storage systems like LTE and 5G updates in rising markets are expected to dramatically triple power consumption.
According to a new report, telecom network providers worldwide are expected to install approximately 121.9 GW of new distributed energy storage systems and clean energy generation technologies between 2022 and 2030.
Along with increased energy consumption from LTE and 5G updates, factors driving the growth of this market include a low revenue-growth environment, rising worldwide power costs, and an expanding number of mobile broadband subscribers. However, partners are increasingly concerned about the impact this astounding increase in data traffic will have on the energy consumption and carbon footprint of mobile networks.
As the most energy-intensive organizations in their geographic market sectors, telecom operators consume between 2% and 3% of the total worldwide energy consumption.
Over 90% of telecom operators’ network costs are spent on energy, which consists primarily of fuel and power. As a result, energy-saving measures from telecom operators are becoming increasingly important.
A majority of internet users will access the internet from their cell phones by 2025, or approximately 3.7 billion individuals. The growing number of mobile broadband users and the growth of data-heavy mobile applications will likely drive considerable growth in mobile data traffic through 2030 and beyond, resulting in solid economic development.
Researchers from mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson reported in 2018 that the telecommunications industry contributes 1.4% of global emissions, with personal gadgets such as phones, tablets, PCs, and modems making up the greatest portion. Globally, telecom business emissions are accounted for by product-related emissions. The other is related to the life cycle of gadgets.
In the telecom sector, data centers and networks account for the next largest portion of emissions (according to research conducted by AZoCleantech).
Telecom + utility = Energy savings and modernized infrastructure
Telecommunications operators’ energy costs are one of the most noticeable and fastest-growing costs; rising power costs can result in multimillion-dollar increases in operating costs.
The telecom industry already accounts for 2-3 percent of world energy consumption, and further increases in internet speeds and data throughput increase the power requirements of network hardware. Adding new sites and cooling existing gear to accommodate 5G wireless networks will cause energy costs to rise.
Telcos also need a reliable power source to ensure that their networks function properly. The impact of network failure can be long-lasting, and the problems are often obvious. Additionally, 5G networks are expected to increase telecom energy consumption by tenfold across the globe.
As a result, many telcos are investing in environmentally friendly power sources, like solar and wind energy, as well as backup generators and storage systems. By utilizing solar panels and high-performance batteries, a Japanese telecommunications provider, NTT DoCoMo, reportedly decreased grid-power consumption by up to 40%.
A telco not only can produce more energy at a lower cost, but it can also sell excess energy to the grid operator, enabling a new revenue stream from a previously unprofitable cost center. In addition, telcos can promote their environmental, social, and administrative operational ethos, accumulating trust and loyalty with their customers.
As a result, their previous utility provider experienced a fall in demand – which may result in an increase in energy prices for the remaining ratepayers.
Power providers can work proactively with their telecom cousins to provide environmentally friendly power energy, potentially in the form of a service, rather than waiting for local or regional telcos to bypass incumbent utilities.
With this new revenue stream, the utility regains business it might have lost, and the telecommunications company can boast that both are committed to sustainability. While these new sustainable resources are integrated into telco’s communications network, telcos do not have to develop their private networks to service such vast territories — therefore, they can save money.
A virtual private network, or network slicing, managed by the utility’s specialists guarantees the utility’s communications are secure and eliminates the need for large, complex (excess) telecom teams within the utility. As artificial intelligence is expanded to the network, productivity will increase and energy consumption will be reduced as well.
For example, AI can diminish the energy cost of central workplaces by 3-5 percent by constantly calibrating the ideal settings of chillers, pumps, and fans. In data centers, Google has reported 30% energy savings using AI.
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