With the Indian government seeking to identify
additional avenues towards progressive reforms, the
role of industry bodies and professionals in accessing
and evaluating policy initiatives and industry feedback
in an objective manner, is particularly important.
Inspired by the significant progress and plethora of
opportunities in the deployment of new and renewable
energy in the telecom sector, Mazars in association with
CMAI, has identified and presented the utility of
renewable energy and other related technological
About this innovations in the telecom sector, while also identifying
advantages of alternative sources of energy and their
publication impact on reducing costs of running the network critical
equipments. This publication also highlights some
solutions being offered by the dynamic alternative
energy market and how they meet the needs of the
telecom sector in India. We trust that such analysis will
provide useful insights as your organization seeks to
attain further heights while navigating through the
emerging industry landscape.
It is time to think about management of growth again.
As the economy continues its recovery march from the
02 India - the resurgence
slowdown, the telecom industry is playing an important
role in facilitating India's progress. 03 Indian telecom industry - the show stealer
05 Growing need of base transceiver stations
Growing telecom traffic inextricably sparks more 06 Renewable solutions
demand for energy. As electricity transmission and 07 Government policies and initiatives
distribution grids face growing challenges, initiatives in 09 Challenges & way forward
relation to the use of renewable energy promise to 11 Expert view
bring about attractive propositions for the telecom
While telecom operators are increasingly adopting
corporate social responsibility initiatives with a goal of
reducing their networks' carbon footprints, network
infrastructure vendors are striving to gain competitive
advantage by reducing power requirements of their
The telecom industry at large is seeking to incorporate
renewable energy sources such as solar and wind
power, particularly for off-grid mobile base stations, to
cater effectively and responsibly to the substantial
subscriber additions that will occur over the next five
In a recent event, it was noted, that out of more than
200 companies from over 50 countries which form part
of the World Economic Forum's Global Growth
Companies (“GGC”) Community, India has the second
largest representation, with a total of 18 GGCs.
Corporate India is also currently booming with global
acquisitions, mergers and investments.
We have recently witnessed the second largest
India - acquisition by an Indian entity (next to Tata's Corus
deal) with telecom giant Bharti Airtel signing a deal
with Kuwait-based Zain Telecom to buy its African
the resurgence business for $10.7 billion.
These forays not only emphasize on India’s potential to
compete on the global platform but at the same time
bear witness to the zeal of Indian conglomerates to
grow, backed by a robust and stable economy and a
futuristic government outlook.
The recent milestone of the 18,000 mark at the BSE
index, after a steady climb over the past 25 months, is · GDP at Factor Cost (at 2004-05 prices) is
seen by many as a prominent stamp signaling the Rs. 41,54,973 Cr (US$ 939.72 billion)
return of the growth story in India. Rightly so, as almost · Forex reserve at April 9, 2010 stands at
a year ago India was struggling to sustain its growth Rs. 12,43,346 Cr (US$ 280 billion)
momentum as a consequence of the global meltdown.
· During April-December 2009, 2984 proposals
amounting to about Rs. 63,300 Cr
The Indian economy has grown at a rate of 7.2% last
(US$ 14.3 billion) were cleared for investments
year, which in a relative sense, is still a remarkable
abroad in Joint Ventures and Wholly Owned
achievement given the adverse conditions globally.
With the Rupee going strong and gaining steadily, the Source: Reserve Bank of India
forecast from various corners are currently beaming
with a positive hope and vigour.
In a major forecast made by the Economist Intelligence
Unit (“EIU”), the research arm of London-based
Economist magazine, India will overtake China to
become the world's fastest growing economy by 2018.
This ushers in a new dimension to the growth of
Corporate India in the global platform and the recent
increase in the number of trade treaties of the global
economic super powers with India holds its testimony.
2 Role of renewable energy in telecom | Mazars CMAI
the New Economic Policy in July 1991. Telecom
equipment manufacturing was itself delicensed in 1991
and value added services were declared open to the
private sector in 1992, following which radio paging,
cellular mobile and other value added services were
opened gradually to the private sector. Privatization
was gradually introduced - first in value-added services,
followed by cellular and basic services. However, the
entry of private service providers brought with it the
Indian telecom inevitable need for independent regulation. TRAI was,
thus, established with effect from February 20, 1997 via
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to
industry - regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of
tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in
the show stealer the Central Government. TRAI was established to deal
with competition in a balanced, objective and
transparent manner. While this gradual and thoughtful
reform process in India has favoured industry growth,
upcoming services such as 3G and WiMax will help to
further augment the growth rate.
One of the major beneficiaries of the growth story over
the last decade has been the Indian telecom sector.
From a mere 80,000 telephone connections at the time
of independence, India's telephone subscriber base
crossed the 600-million mark in February 2010, taking
the overall tele-density to 51.05%, according to the
latest details released by the Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India (“TRAI”). Ever since mobile telephone
services were commercially launched in August 1995 in
India, there has been no looking back and India has
From Top to bottom – Total, 18+, 15-59, 0-14 and 60+ age
become the fastest growing telecom market in the
group population in millions
world, now even crossing China. In this respect, India's
Figure: Grouping of population in India
net additions of 10 million subscribers per month to
touch a base of 563.73 million of mobile telephony Source: Census of India
users, have far outpaced China's monthly rate of
increase of mobile telephony users, now below eight According to the 2001 census, about 54% of the
million, according to an independent survey agency country's total population was below 25 years of age.
(Moody's). Another 200 million are now expected to be added by
2013, depicting an exponential growth in the
The fast growth in the Indian telecommunication has ‘consumer class'.
been a catalyst to India's progress. Driven by various
policy initiatives, the Indian telecom sector has
witnessed a complete transformation, especially in the
last decade. The process of liberalization in the country
began in the right earnest with the announcement of
CMAI Mazars | 3
India is a large consumer of world resources; both
natural and man-made, thereby offering numerous
opportunities to international organisations around the
globe. India's population residing in urban areas is
expected to rise from 28% in 2001 to 33% by 2026. All
these signs are positive factors for the growth in the
According to TRAI, the gross revenue of the telecom
service providers stands at Rs. 39,757 Cr
(US$ 8.8 billion) for the quarter ended December 2009
and access services contributed 78.22% of the total
revenue of telecom services. This growth is expected to
pick up in 2010 with the introduction of 3G spectrum.
Subscriber base in Million
Figure: Increase in wireless telephone subscribers in the last
The story so far
· Total telecom subscribers : 600.69 million
(at February 28, 2010)
· Teledensity: 51.05 percent (at February 28, 2010)
· Addition of new mobile subscribers per month:
19.20 million (at February 28, 2010)
· Annual growth rate of telecom subscribers
(Feb 2009 - Feb10): 49.09 percent
· The third largest telecommunication network in
the world and the second largest in terms of
number of wireless connections
· More GSM subscribers than fixed line subscribers
· Broadband subscription is 8.59 million
(at February 28, 2010)
4 Role of renewable energy in telecom | Mazars CMAI
In a country like India, given the above operational
conditions, for site planning purposes the backup
generator set must handle the entire load of BTS
including air conditioning as well as unavoidable power
losses. Typically, BTS sites are backed by a 15-25 KVA or
40 KVA diesel generators. Most sites are located in grid-
deficit areas that need diesel generators to run for as
much as 4-20 hours. According to industry estimates,
one-third of the operational expense of BTS in India is
Growing needs the fuel cost to run the power back-up equipments.
Both urban and rural cell sites are in need of
of base autonomous site power, and the cost and even legal
implications of this need are already becoming
transceiver troublesome for operators. Apart from these, diesel
generators used in telecom towers also contribute to
stations huge carbon emissions which may lead to other
financial implications as the environment norms
becoming stringer with time.
India currently has around 3,00,000 towers and the
During the last decade, more specifically during the last
number is expected to increase to 450,000 towers with
five years, India has witnessed a revolution in the
900,000 tenants in the next two years. Although for
telecom sector, especially in the mobile phone
computing the precise diesel fuel consumption, one
segment. Mobile telephone service providers have
must consider the average number of hours of
already started gearing up for 650 million or more
operation, margins for cold starts and certain fuel losses
subscribers by 2012. To achieve this, mobile service
(related not only to site power requirements but also
providers are eyeing the hitherto untapped rural mobile
contamination, pilferage etc.), the frequent power cuts
market. The rural teledensity is far less than the urban
and the fact that each tenant has to shoulder an
areas although there is no lack of buying capacity of the
additional operational cost of almost 3,000 litres of
consumer in those areas.
diesel every year on a shared tower can not be ignored.
A leading mobile service provider has estimated the
Also as per estimates almost Rs. 300 Cr (US$ 67 million)
size of this rural mobile market to be Rs. 40,000 Crore
is being spent every month by the telecom operators on
(US$10 billion). To support this growth, the country will
running the diesel generators in remote locations
require around 300,000 new BTS sites to roll-out in
where the grid power remains cut off for long hours.
three to five years in India, thereby doubling the
Though the Indian telecom sector may be booming, but
as telecom networks expand into emerging and
developing markets, they are increasingly troubled by
the inadequacies of the power grids and risks of
unexpected outages, sometimes of extended durations.
Power supply is not predictive even in the urban areas
of India. This is interrupting their ability to deliver
services dependably, retarding payback and threatening
their path to profitability.
CMAI Mazars | 5
backup power for mobile networks in any location
whether off-grid, in locations with unreliable power, or
in extreme climates. The self-contained and self-
recharging fuel-cell system consumes only water,
produces zero greenhouse gas emissions and can be
installed to backup renewable or mains power. It
releases mobile operators from much of the
inconvenience of providing backup power through
gensets and batteries. This drives operating expenses
Renewable down, minimises maintenance, eliminates diesel
refueling or battery replacement costs and provides
comprehensive remote power monitoring and control.
solutions Another such innovation comes from telecom
equipment manufacturer VNL, which is manufacturing
the solar powered turnkey GSM system by the name of
“WorldGSM” specifically made for rural areas where
the average revenue per user is less than Rs. 100
(US$2). “WorldGSM” is the first commercially viable
GSM system that can run independent of the power
Technology has driven mankind in its progress since grid. It runs exclusively on solar power and requires no
ages in its growth path. With the depleting fossil fuels diesel generator backup. This also has the advantage of
and skyrocketing prices of available natural resources, lower capital cost compared to some other alternatives.
technologists worldwide have turned to innovative
ideas to uninterruptedly power this growth. In India, power from renewable energy sources such as
Telecommunication has become the lifeline of human wind, biomass, small hydro and solar energy is being
growth and the need for development of energy to generated in grid-interactive and off-grid modes for
sustain this growth is also exponentially burgeoning. meeting the electricity requirements in different
locations across the country. Further, decentralized
Most of the power requirement for smooth functioning renewable power projects using wind energy, biomass
of the BTS and other essential equipments in the energy, hydro power, and wind-solar hybrid systems are
telecom sector is met through the power grids that being established in the country to meet the energy
criss-cross the nation. But since the BTS are mostly requirements of isolated communities and areas which
erected in remote locations where at times grid are not likely to be electrified in near future.
connectivity is limited, telecom operators have to
invariably rely on their own source of energy. In a press release of GSM Association, which is a body
of more than world's 800 mobile telecom operators
In countries like India where the power shortage is spanning across 219 countries and 200 more companies
nearly 12% and some portions of the country are yet to related to the telecom sector, it was mentioned that
be connected to the grid, this need becomes even more about 118,000 renewable energy base stations could
imperative. Amongst the new technologies available save up to 2.5 billion litres of diesel annualy.
worldwide, the Electro Power Systems SpA's newly Considering the fact that operational expense plays a
launched ElectroSelf, which is the world's first entirely vital role in determining the sustainability and
self-recharging hydrogen fuel cell technology (as profitability of a telecom network site, be it BTS,
displayed at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona) is repeaters or boosters, the business case for renewable
noteworthy. It is designed to deliver dependable energy is highly compelling.
6 Role of renewable energy in telecom | Mazars CMAI
generation in India. Over the last 15 years, biomass
power has attracted annual investment of over
Rs. 1,000 Cr (US$ 225mn), generating more than
9 billion units of electricity per year.
MNRE supports setting up of small wind energy
systems like aerogenerators and windsolar hybrid
systems in rural, semi urban and urban areas having
annual average wind speed of about 15 km/hr or
Government above, at 20 m height. The programme has already
been implemented through State Nodal Agencies
mainly in several States and UTs. These systems provide
policies and energy of about 10KW which can be utilized in
supporting BTS operations.
initiatives Besides this bio-ethanol already enjoys concessional
excise duty of 16% and biodiesel is exempted from
excise duty. Custom and excise duty concessions are
provided on plant and machinery for production of
bio-diesel or bio-ethanol, as well as for engines run on
biofuels for transport, stationary and other
The Government of India had formulated an Integrated
applications, if these are not manufactured
Energy Policy (“IEP”) covering all sources of energy
including renewable energy sources in 2006. The policy
document has highlighted the need to maximally
The government has also introduced the National
develop domestic energy supply options and diversify
Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in June 2008
energy sources, including increased exploitation of
which has eight key 'missions' of which the National
renewable energy, especially solar. It has further
Solar Mission is one of the flagship missions that will
projected that with a concerted push, renewable
aim to meet key development and energy security
sources may account for 5 to 6 per cent of India's
energy mix in 2031-32. It has envisaged that power may
be provided to rural areas and areas which are
As a part of it, the Solar Photovoltaic (“SPV”)
inaccessible to the existing power grids, using electricity
Programme of MNRE provide support for installation of
generated from the renewable sources
Stand-alone SPV power plants of capacities between 1
such as solar, wind, bio-gas, bio diesel, bio-ethanol,
and 10 kWp (without distribution network) and above
10 kWp (with distribution network) for meeting
electrical energy needs of a small communities in
According to MNRE, a capacity of about 5,531 MW grid-
village/ urban, islands and other areas.
interactive power generation from various renewable
energy sources has been installed as on January 2010
In addition, rooftop solar photovoltaic systems from
against a target of 12,300 MW in the 11th Five Year
10kWp to 100kWp are given central financial assistance
Plan. Of this around 70% of the capacity is wind power
for installation in industrial and commercial
based generation units. This has propelled India to the
establishments/ complexes (excluding manufacturers of
5th position amongst the largest wind power producing
SPV cells/modules), housing complexes, institutions and
countries of the world. Over the years, biomass has
others which face electricity shortages and are using
become an important energy source for power
diesel generators for backup power.
CMAI Mazars | 7
The funds available for the purpose as Central Financial The current supply of module and cells manufactured in
Assistance is for 13.5mWp for decentralized SPV and India will not be able to cater to all the needs which can
4.25mWp for SPV roof top systems over the period result in delays in commissioning of the plants. In
2009-2012. addition there is proven and better technology that is
available in countries like Germany which can increase
In another inspiring initiative, the government has the efficiency of the solar power plant thereby meeting
prepared draft guidelines for selection of New Grid the required deficit in the India, much quicker.
Connected Solar Projects under Phase I of JNNSM
(Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission). This draft In another proposition, the net worth is required to be
lays down guidelines for the selection of projects. the same as or greater than the value calculated at the
rate of Rs. 2 Crore or equivalent US$ per MW of the
In accordance with the same, developers could be project capacity to which the industry feels that the net
asked by NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. (“NVVN”) worth should be calculated for the parent company, as
(which is designated as the nodal agency by the the subsidiary would have been created for the sole
Ministry of Power for entering into a Power Purchase purpose of this project. A reduction of this criteria to
Agreement (“PPA”) with Solar Power Developers to Rs. 1 Crore (US$ 0.22 million) can also permit several
purchase solar power fed to 33KV and above grids), to additional companies to participate in the tender
indicate the percentage of CERC determined tariff process.
which they are prepared to share with NVVN, as a
mechanism for bearing the administrative costs and risk The Indian government does not seem to be falling
sharing. The project developer offering the maximum of short or wanting in its drive to promote solar and other
such percentage would be selected first. alternative energy sources and options along with
technological innovations, with suitable strategies to
The Industry believes that the selection should not be reduce excess of reliance on conventional fuel. At the
on the basis on which the developer gives the highest same time, in clear recognition of the importance of
discounts on the price, as that would lead to promoting the use of renewable energy in the telecom
undercutting and would make most of the project sector, the industry experts and end-users of this sector
unviable. The selection should thus be on more than have great expectations from the Indian government.
one criteria, similar to the criteria used for the tenders
of APDRP, a power sector project.
It is also important that the equipments used and the
efficiency produced thereafter is evaluated in order to
ensure that the project will sustain throughout the
period (say 25 years).
In case of solar PV technology, it is proposed in the
guidelines that all deployment under the scheme
should use a module manufactured in India and it is
also proposed to mandate the use of the cell
manufactured in India. However, the industry believes
that under this policy there will be a huge inflow of
applications for setting up of solar power plants.
8 Role of renewable energy in telecom | Mazars CMAI
Infrastructure development over the coming years
especially with the advent of 3G is the vital factor in the
development of future telecom networks in India. New
and innovative technologies would provide relief to the
operators from the ever increasing operating cost;
however, role of renewable energy sources would
remain critical in times to come in smooth functioning
of the networks specially the wireless communication
segment. The Indian government is bringing about
Challenges & changes to its policies and incentive schemes to keep in
sync with the changing market dynamics.
way forward In a recent announcement, the telecom minister
remarked that that the expected tele-density of 600
million of 2012 has already been achieved and the
government has a clear policy to increase the tele-
density to almost twice the present level in rural areas.
This paves the way for more BTS and relay stations in
the rural areas where the poor power situation leads to
high operation cost in terms of fuel for back-up source
Future-oriented wireless network solutions are of energy. However, incentives for using renewable
adopting green initiatives for energy conservation, energy shall boost its prospect amongst the operators
resource optimization and emission reduction to who are a bit hesitant because of high cost of setting up
contribute towards the objectives of containing global renewable energy plants at their repeater and BTS sites.
warming and also reducing the burgeoning energy cost
of running network sites. Development of fourth The central government and state governments of
generation green BTS solutions reduces resources like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka
equipment room and site-related auxiliary equipment. and Gujarat have defined policies for wind generation-
Environment friendly products generally feature low the most favored green energy at present-on a
power consumption, less noise, electromagnetic commercial basis.
radiation and environmental impact. This lessens the
aggravated costs while also saving energy. MNRE has also announced a policy for 50MW grid
connected power plants. The Electricity Regulatory
There is also a move towards reduction of carbon Commissions of various states have renewable
emission with innovative designs like multiple carriers purchase obligations by which a particular utility should
per tower. Some platforms are toying with seamless have a stipulated generation from green sources.
integration of multiple services like Universal Mobile
Telecommunications System, CDMA, Wideband-CDMA Some of very important incentives made available by
and Long Term Evolution over same infrastructure. MNRE include 100% accelerated depreciation for tax
purposes in the first year of the installation of
The capacity of BTS is also increasing multi-fold thereby projects/systems, low import tariffs for capital
optimizing the density of towers. The role of the equipment and most of the materials and components,
infrastructure service provider emerges from this five-year tax holiday for power generation projects,
resource utilization pretext and with expansion remunerative price under alternate power purchase
imperative in rural areas the concept of integration is policy by state government for the power generated
gaining ground. through renewable energy systems and fed to the grid
CMAI Mazars | 9
by private sector, financial incentives/ subsidies for The service operators have robust growth and
devices with high initial cost etc. valuations. In addition, the spectrum policies have seen
several new operators and additional allocation to
There are many suggestions from different telecom existing operators.
companies regarding the steps the government should
take to facilitate bulk usage of renewable energy at a The Hon'ble Union Minister of New and Renewable
lower viable cost. These propositions include reduced Energy, Dr Farooq Abdullah has been in forefront for
levies on solar equipments, land at concessional rates development of alternative energy and promotion of
for operators that use renewable energy for powering solar, wind, bio energies and several policy initiatives
their BTS and other network sites, offsetting higher have been taken for India to take lead in this sector.
capital expenditure of setting up infrastructure for
non conventional energy by lowering the license fee While it is important for the momentum that has been
payable etc. Although there are lots of challenges gathered to be sustained, the same must be done in a
ahead, it is believed with the new policies and incentive balanced, systematic, inclusive and cohesive manner.
schemes introduced by government from time to time, This will ensure that the benefits of the growth accrue
India's telecom companies shall be able to reap the indiscriminately to a wide consumer base. The industry
optimum benefits from renewable energy sources in needs ongoing impetus and effective platforms for
times to come. ongoing exchange of thoughts, dialogue and feedback;
and the government has done well to promote the
As a consequence of the policies being driven by the same.
Union Minister of Communications and IT, Hon'ble
Thiru A. Raja and the UPA Government led by Prime
Minister, Hon'ble Dr. Manmohan Singh, India now
occupies prime space on world economic scene with
Telecom as its show piece of liberalization and growth.
Such far reaching policies have facilitated the
tremendous growth of telecom subscribers, with these
crossing 600 million, two years in advance of what was
planned for 2012. In addition to this, the tariff levels
have fallen down to unbelievable levels of one paisa for
more than one second in some cases, which is the
lowest in the world today.
The customers today have a wide choice of service
operators. The investments and FDI have been growing
and India is becoming choice destination for global
players to introduce new technologies and products.
10 Role of renewable energy in telecom | Mazars CMAI
many more international and national players making
their forays into the sector. This will not only lead to
growth of the networks but also to the associated
industries and sectors such as equipment
manufacturing, handset manufacturing and data
content providers etc. The other services, such as
Internet Broadband, Broadband Wireless Access (BWA)
and Value Added Services (VAS) hold the key to the
future of telecom in India.
Expert view Q: Network quality is the key to the success of any
mobile telecom operator in any country. What do you
identify as major challenges that the telecom industry
is facing in India?
A: Although the penetration of the telecom networks
have been tremendous, telecom operators are finding it
hard to cope-up with the increasing demand in terms of
the infrastructure. Over the years we have witnessed a
rise in the number of the consumer complaints of poor
We interviewed Mr. Debashis Ghosh, who has extensive network conditions. As far as the policy is concerned,
experience across the telecom sector and heads the TRAI has issued the Standards of Quality of Basic
Internal Audit department at Indus Towers. In a candid Telephone Service (Wireline) and Cellular Mobile
discussion with us, Debashis spoke about some Telephone Service Regulations, 2009 to prescribe the
concerns of telecom industry and role of renewable quality of services benchmark. However to achieve
energy in the sector. He also expressed his thoughts on these benchmarks there are some burning issues which
issues being discussed in this publication and excerpts need to be taken care of.
from the interview are provided below.
India currently has about 3 lacs telecom towers and
Q: The telecom market is upbeat about the would require another 1.5 lacs in next three years to
tremendous growth it is experiencing at the moment. keep up with the demand. With the passive and active
Where do you see the growth story going in next five infrastructure sharing allowed from 2008, there is a
years? substantial saving in capex and operating expenditure
(opex) for mobile operators who share these resources.
A: Since the time of opening up of the telecom market However, in a country like India where still electricity
to private players, the market has expanded in full demand outstrips the supply by 7 to 11%, power
glory. The CAGR of subscriber base of the wireless shortage and rising fuel costs create hurdles in smooth
telephone, which comprises of almost 93% of the total functioning of the telecom networks. The power
telecom subscribers in India, over the last five years has situation is worse in rural areas where the outages last
been at a staggering 63%, adding almost 10 million new for 10-12 hours. Under such circumstance, back-up
consumers every month. At a time when we are power becomes inevitable. Energy expenses constitute
witnessing the penetration of 2G GSM and CDMA nearly 30-35% of the total network operating costs. An
networks to every nook and corner of the country, the efficient power management holds the key to
fierce battle to secure 3G spectrum has begun amongst improving financials of the operators which has already
the telecom operators early this month. 3G networks been hit by the nose diving tariff and fierce tariff battle.
will give the much required boost to the growth of Renewable sources of energy which can cut down the
telecom sector in India. In five years we may expect opex by around 15-20% hold a viable alternative to
such a power crisis under rising fuel price conditions.
CMAI Mazars | 11
If we make an estimate, considering around 120,000 in energy requirements is achievable in the near future.
BTS in rural areas which run on diesel gen-sets for The concept of green towers is fast catching up in India.
almost 12 hours a day consuming 24 litres of diesel, the These concepts are inherited by the telecom tower
cost of running is around Rs. 300Cr (US$ 67mn) per companies (including Indus Towers) in rolling out cost
month. Thus it has become imperative for the operators effective & energy efficient towers and utilizing
to look for alternative sources of fuel to run these renewable energy for captive usage. However, high cost
stations. The capex may be on a higher side but the of setting up renewable energy plant deter operators
operational expenses which will be far less than the from taking initiative in such projects but with availing
present levels shall set-off the initial investment in a right incentives which are provided by the government,
short period of time. Renewable sources of energy such they become feasible and low cost solutions in the long
as solar cells, hydrogen fuel cells, wind power, bio- term.
diesel, bio-gas etc. may provide some feasible solutions
to the problem and also contribute towards greener Q: Do you see renewable energy as a feasible
environment with zero emissions, as against production alternative, considering the plaguing power crisis that
of 2.68 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by the sector is facing today?
combusting one litre of diesel.
A: The power situation is set to be far better in coming
Q: How new is the concept of renewable energy in the years. The Indian government has set an ambitious
telecom sector? target to add approximately 78,000 MW of installed
generation capacity by 2012. However, the target
A: Renewable energy concept is not very new to the generation for previous year has been missed by a
telecom sector although much needs to be done in this margin. Going by the trend, reliance on power grids to
area. In India, the concept is in an infant stage as the run the BTS cannot be 100% and back-up power
need is felt now for switching over to these alternative generation cost is high with conventional energy
sources of the energy as the market expands and sources. The renewable sources seem viable as they not
operating costs of BTS is hitting the operators who are only reduce the opex but are also environmentally
reeling under pressures of fierce competition, higher friendly. Further as discussed, Government incentives
marketing expenses, dwindling tariffs and increasing for usage of renwable energy make it more lucrative
customer expectations in terms of quality and services. and viable option going forward. Other measures such
The running of BTS using generators and batteries are as deploying feederless sites, using a lower frequency
slowly making ways to solar powered captive energy band which cuts down the number of sites by 50%,
stations, self recharging hydrogen fuel cells which are energy efficient air conditioning system etc. can reduce
being recently introduced, small wind power stations capex and opex considerably.
and power from other renewable sources such as bio-
diesel, biomass, bio-gas etc. Q: India has already become the fastest growing
telecom market in the world. How can this trend be
Q: Are we doing enough towards the optimum further encouraged?
utilisation of renewable sources of energy in the
telecom sector? A: India is still the second largest telecom market in the
world and we may hope that with new technologies and
A: Presently not much has been done in this aspect, policies in place India may soon become the largest
however initiatives are being taken by many market. The initiatives from the Government agencies
organizations such tower companies and equipment are inspiring but the operators, service providers,
manufacturers who are investing hugely in bringing out equipment manufacturers and consumers too have a
green products and solutions to substantially reduce significant role as the key stakeholders to a sustainable
operators' operating expenses. While a pan-India future of this sector.
deployment may take some time, up to 20% reduction
12 Role of renewable energy in telecom | Mazars CMAI