The Department of Telecommunications has issued directions to the telecom service providers to use of renewable energy solutions and energy-efficient technologies.
The move could open up another segment of the market to solar, wind, and battery energy storage companies along with reducing carbon emissions from diesel generators, which are predominantly used by telecom towers for backup power.
Responding to a query during the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Sanjay Dhotre said that the telecom service providers had been directed to voluntarily adopt renewable energy solutions, energy-efficient equipment, and high capacity fast charging storage solutions to reduce carbon footprint.
Dhotre stated that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be signed between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the Department of Telecommunications for a joint working group to suggest renewable energy solutions for telecom towers.
“The objective of the MoU is to explore the opportunity to reduce the consumption of conventional fossil fuel energy used in the telecom towers with renewable energy and help in achieving the clean energy targets of the country,” he said.
He said that although no data is currently available on the annual carbon dioxide emissions solely due to diesel used on mobile tower sites, the telecom department has asked the service providers to submit the carbon footprint report based on self-certification.
According to Dhotre, the service providers would adopt a voluntary code of practice encompassing energy efficiency, network planning, infra-sharing, deployment of energy-efficient technologies, and adoption of renewable energy. Further, he said that the service providers should come up with a ‘carbon credit policy,’ which should be in line with carbon credit norms to achieve the reduction in carbon footprint target. According to him, the ultimate objective is to reduce up to 50% over the carbon footprint levels of the base year in rural areas and a maximum of 66% in urban areas by the year 2020.
“The target for reduction in average carbon emission is 30% by the year 2019-20 and 40% by the year 2022-23,” the minister told the House.
Further, the Telecom Engineering Center under the Department of Telecommunications has been asked to set up a model lab facility for certification of telecom products, equipment, and service based on energy consumption rating (ECR).
The center has been requested to finalize the ECR document delineating the test procedures and the methodologies used. The Telecom Engineering Center has also been asked to make the necessary provisions mandating that all telecom products, equipment, and services in the telecom network are energy and performance assessed and should be certified “Green Passport” utilizing the ECR rating.
In September 2019, Mercom reported that the Indian Telephone Industries Limited, a government-owned manufacturer of telecommunication equipment, issued a tender to procure 600,000 kWh of solar power monthly from offsite ground-mounted projects for its facility in Karnataka. ITI plans to increase the use of renewable energy in its data center facility to bring it under the “Green Data Centre” tag and reduce carbon emissions.
Earlier, it was reported that the CERC suggested that POWERGRID can monetize its transmission line towers by offering it to mobile telecom service providers on a commercial basis under section 41 of the Electricity Act, 2003.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.