A range of factors including pledges to reduce GHG emissions, the desire to minimize the impact of rising energy prices, and the decreasing cost of deploying base stations run on clean energy is driving telecom service providers to create more sustainable systems for delivering their services. According to a new report from Pike Research, however, the pathway to achieving these goals has shifted: The focus of green telecom has swung strongly to energy efficiency. While clean power is not to be discounted, operators (and thus suppliers) are placing much more emphasis today on curbing power consumption than on deploying green base stations.
By 2016, Pike Research forecasts, sustainable telecom network infrastructure investments will represent over 61% of global telecom capital expenditures, representing a $194 billion market. Of these investments, 65% will go into mobile networks in 2016.
“Green power is not feasible or economical at all locations,” says research director Eric Woods. “In most cases, some type of green power supply can be deployed, but there are areas where this is not an option or the ROI is too low to justify. Services such as network and site planning can also reduce the energy needed to run a network, and vendors are also placing more emphasis on their own supply chains to reduce energy consumption and decrease emissions.”
Within mobile networks, base stations and switching centers may consume 60% to 85% of an operator’s network energy usage, so improvements here are critical. Concentrating on improvements in radio frequency (RF) amplifiers, switches, new network architectures and topologies, fresh air cooling solutions, and the use of sustainable energy solutions for off-grid locations, service providers and vendors are combining forces to make sure that the newer 4G networks require less power than legacy networks. As a result, Pike Research forecasts that emissions levels associated with mobile networks will decline to 251 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) by 2016 versus 266 MtCO2e for 2011.
Pike Research’s report, “Green Telecom Networks”, focuses on the direct impact of green technologies and practices as applied to telecommunications networks. Specifically addressed are the market drivers and business decisions that drive the usage and implementation of green practices across fixed and mobile networks. In addition, quantitative market forecasts through 2016 are provided to describe the effects of these green technologies and practices on operational and environmental costs. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Contact: Richard Martin
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