Twenty-five cell phone service providers have signed on to the GSM Association’s “Green Power for Mobile” program, which aims to convert 118,000 off-grid cell transmission towers from diesel to renewable power or fuel sources by 2012, reports Greenbiz in a Sept. 23 article.
Leading companies such as Digicel, which has put wind, solar and coconut oil power to use on cell towers in the South Pacific islands, Idea Cellular, which is using waste cooling oil-diesel fuel blends to power more than 350 base stations in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, and Safaricom, which uses small-scale wind and solar systems to supply 30 cell towers in Kenya with power, have been paving the way forward and the GSMA is now working with them to further advance the conversion process.
Cell Towers of Power
Triple Pundit in August reported on Digicel Pacific working with local entrepreneurs to power a remote base station in Papua New Guinea with locally produced coconut oil.
Researching the topic, the GSMA, a global trade association with around 750 cell phone operator members, found that some 1,500 base stations around the world are being powered by renewable power systems.
Switching from diesel to solar, wind or sustainable biofuels would save about 660 million gallons (2.5 billion liters) of diesel a year. Moreover, companies making the conversion would save both from using less or no diesel, as well as eliminating the need to make frequent fuel runs out to the off-grid cell towers. The GSMA estimates that cell phone service providers could recoup their investments in as little as two years, according to the Greenbiz report.