Pune: Use of diesel generators in cellphone
towers leads to a staggering five million tonnes of annual
carbon emissions in India and there is a need to replace them
with solar panels, says a new study.
With the number of mobile phone users in the country
swelling rapidly, telecom operators are going in for more
high-intensity cellphone towers for better network efficiency
entailing a massive consumption of diesel -- about two billion
litres every year -- for power generation to run them, said
the study released by `Future Energy` periodical published by
Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA).
This is resulting in carbon emissions totalling over five
million tonnes, it said.
The country at present has about 250,000 cellphone towers
each of which use 3-5 kilowatts of power depending on the
number of operators using them.
"Together, these towers use more than two billion litres
of diesel every year for power generation. Apart from this,
fuel is also spent for cooling the equipment. If all these
cellphone towers use solar energy then it could save a great
amount of fossil fuels as well as reduce carbon emissions,"
the study said.
It noted that cellphone towers are "energy-intensive" as
they use power non-stop without interruption.
"Air conditioning of the equipment housed in the nearby
hubs also takes up substantial amounts of energy. Thus any
change in the power generation method of cellphone towers
would make tremendous impact in terms of resource saving and
reduction in carbon emissions. With telecom operators looking
to expand operations in rural areas, even more telecom towers
are set to come up," it said.
Considering the estimates predicting that India will have
a billion cell phone subscribers by 2015, it is "extremely
essential" that the policy mooted by the Central ministry of
New and Renewable energy to energise cell phone towers using
solar energy is implemented "as soon as possible" to reduce
strain on the already scarce resources, the study said.
The total carbon emissions from diesel used for cellphone
towers is estimated by the study at 5.3 million tonnes or
11.76 billion pounds while the cost of diesel every year at an
average price is calculated at USD 1.4 billion (equivalent to
Rs 6,400 crore).