Friday, March 25, 2011

TRAI worried over diesel generators in cellphone towers

TRAI worried over diesel generators in cellphone towers

New Delhi, February 9, 2011  13:02

The much-celebrated mobile phone boom is taking a heavy toll on the country's environment. As much as 200 crore litres of diesel are burnt and thousands of tonnes of carbon emitted every year to power mobile telephony towers spread all over the country to keep you connected.

Waking up to this environmentally unfriendly side of the phone industry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has initiated a consultation process to help the sector go green. India has around 3.1 lakh towers, of which 70 percent are located in rural areas where gridconnected electricity is not available. As a result, 60 percent of the towers are powered by diesel generators which produce a total of 5.3 million
litres of carbon dioxide every year.

The total carbon emission is estimated to be around 5 million tonnes due to diesel consumption and 8 million tonnes due to power grid connected towers. Telecom companies spend about Rs 300 crore every month on diesel.

Towers and related equipment such as base stations and backhaul equipment account for the bulk of the power consumption for any telecom operator. The tower sites consume 65 per cent energy, while the core network accounts for 21 per cent.

The use of renewable sources of energy such as solar and biomass, better network planning and sharing of infrastructure by different operators could substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the industry, TRAI has suggested in a consultation paper.

The move from diesel to solar and other alternate sources of energy will result in a reduction of 5 million tonnes of carbon emission as well as a savings of $1.4 billion (Rs 6,350 crore) in operating expenses for telecom tower companies, the paper says.

The regulator has suggested a system of carbon credits for the telecom sector. It says moving to renewable energy sources could generate millions of carbon credits that could offset operational costs on the towers.

However, environment action group Greenpeace feels that the approach suggested by the telecom regulator is flawed.
"In the absence of emission assessments and standards, the promotion of false solutions like carbon credit and offsetting is designed to retard the sector's inclination to undertake measures to mitigate emissions," said Mrinmoy Chattaraj of Greenpeace. Before initiating a carbon credit policy, telecom companies should be made to declare their greenhouse gas emissions.


  1. Have anyone ever gone thru the DG norms by Environ Ministry. Their norms are only for Gen Sets driven by Petrol and Kerosine. See the PCB norms. In West Bengal WBPCB are simply oblivious to the problem. Their duty ceases after passing a Circular. Why not Mr. Jairam Ramesh is Vocal about Radiation and Other Pollution created by Cell Towers. There are hundreds of Structurally Unsafe Towers constructed by IP-1 Service providers which are shared by 4-5 UAS providers. They are insulated by these IP-1 Service providers.

  2. just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.

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