Mobile base station electricity costs could rise by nearly 55% over the next five years unless operators address network inefficiencies and reduce reliance on non-renewable energy resources, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The green base stations report utilised scenario-based models to derive estimates of base station power consumption, CO2 emissions and implied electricity costs. Under the incremental model - wherein operators and vendors would not be markedly proactive in pursuing green policies - global base station electricity costs would exceed $9bn by 2014, with operators dependent on off-grid electricity hit particularly hard.
However, the green report found that a transformational approach - wherein operators invest substantially in power reduction in the base station, and migrate from diesel to renewable energy to power off-grid generators - total base station electricity costs would peak in 2011 and by 2014 would have fallen to 10% below their current levels.
According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, "Operators in Africa and Asia who continue to rely on diesel for off-grid generators will find margins increasingly squeezed as their networks expand and diesel prices rise. We believe that unless a transition to generators powered by renewable energy is effected, then many such networks may no longer be financially viable within a few years."
Other findings from the green base stations research include: