Pike Research has released a report, called Green Telecoms Networks, which looks at green telecoms initiatives worldwide - the opportunities, technology requirements and environmental impact.
The report focuses on the direct impact of green technologies and practices on telecoms networks and reaches the headline conclusion that green telecom network infrastructure investments will be worth $122bn by 2014, representing over 46% of telecoms capital expenditure worldwide. Of that, 63% of the investments will be for mobile networks.
The Asia Pacific region is expected to lead the capex spending by 2014, followed by Europe. Global emissions reductions by then (compared with doing nothing) are estimated at 24%, with a 46% reduction from mobile networks.
Mobile networks, base stations and switching centres will be a focus since they can consume 70%-80% of an operator’s network energy usage. Whilst the use of renewable energy solutions continue to face ROI issue because of their initial cost, as business cases move to a total cost of ownership (TCO) model their implementation becomes more attractive. Pike Research predicts that renewable energy will power 4.5% of the world’s mobile base stations by 2014, up from just 0.11% in 2010. The figure will be higher – 8% - in developing countries.
Fixed networks have declining subscriber numbers, and hence costs, so are less of a concern. Nevertheless, emissions reductions of 15% are still expected by 2014 from technology improvements at the component/board level.
Pike Research also points out that there are lots of opportunities for both fixed and mobile network operators to reduce emissions from data centres, both in the design of the facilities and in the IT itself, through server consolidation and virtualisation, for example.