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Cutting energy use in telecoms

SMART 2020, a global report on information and communications technologies (ICT) published in 2008, found that the carbon footprint of ICT makes up 2 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions and that this volume will almost double by 2020. But since the ICT sector is able to monitor and optimise usage of energy, ICT could save 15 percent of global emissions in 2020, the report suggested. This could be achieved by smart motor systems, smart logistics, smart buildings and smart grids; the area of telecommunications infrastructure enjoys a special position, it said.

SMART 2020, a global report on information and communications technologies (ICT) published in 2008, found that the carbon footprint of ICT makes up 2 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions and that this volume will almost double by 2020. But since the ICT sector is able to monitor and optimise usage of energy, ICT could save 15 percent of global emissions in 2020, the report suggested. This could be achieved by smart motor systems, smart logistics, smart buildings and smart grids; the area of telecommunications infrastructure enjoys a special position, it said.



“Our clients – mobile operators, consume as much as 85 percent of their energy needs on operation of their communications networks,” said Ľubomír Šoška, the director of the Slovak branch of Nokia Siemens Networks, at a press conference in early April.

He pointed out that energy makes up a significant portion of the operating costs of providers of communications services. While in developed markets energy makes up to 10 percent of operating costs, in developing markets this can rise to between 15 and 30 percent.

Šoška said he believes that modern solutions and technologies can enable significant reductions in energy consumption. He lists four main ways to reduce the energy consumption of base transceiver stations (BTS): by using energy-savvy products; by minimising the number of stations thanks to better coverage and higher capacity; by minimising the need for air conditioning; and by using software that enables energy use when demand in the grid is low.

He predicted that such measures may bring reductions in the energy intensity of providers of telecommunications services of up to 70 percent.

According to Šoška, new technologies already enable construction of stations independent from the grid whose electricity needs can be met by local renewable sources, for example solar or wind energy.


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