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Mobile in developing markets threatened by rise in electricity costs

Mobile in developing markets threatened by rise in electricity costs

Mobile base station electricity costs could rise by nearly 55% over the next five years unless operators address network inefficiencies and reduce reliance on non-renewable energy resources, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The green base stations report utilised scenario-based models to derive estimates of base station power consumption, CO2 emissions and implied electricity costs. Under the incremental model  - wherein operators and vendors would not be markedly proactive in pursuing green policies – global base station electricity costs would exceed $9bn by 2014, with operators dependent on off-grid electricity hit particularly hard.

However, the green report found that a transformational approach – wherein operators invest substantially in power reduction in the base station, and migrate from diesel to renewable energy to power off-grid generators – total base station electricity costs would peak in 2011 and by 2014 would have fallen to 10% below their current levels.

“Operators in Africa and Asia who continue to rely on diesel for off-grid generators will find margins increasingly squeezed as their networks expand and diesel prices rise,” said report author Dr Windsor Holden.

“We believe that unless a transition to generators powered by renewable energy is effected, then many such networks may no longer be financially viable within a few years.”

Other findings from the green base stations research include that base stations are responsible for more than 70% of CO2 emissions in the mobile use phase.

It also found that operators should increasingly seek to utilise feederless sites and distributed site architecture as means of reducing inefficency.

Finally, it added that adopting measures suggested under the transformational model will enable operators to reduce base station CO2 emissions by up to 30% .

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