GreenTowers P7 – Airtel’s Green Initiative

Airtel LogoThe Telecommunications sector has been an intrinsic part of India’s growth story bringing 1.2% of GDP growth with every 10% increase in mobile penetration. This brings far-reaching changes in the lives of urban and rural India by connecting them seamlessly. It is indeed interesting that in addition to urban areas almost 90% of villages today are covered by improved telecommunications.

However, there stiff challenges that constraints the industry from providing access and connectivity in the remote areas. The most critical of this is unavailability or limited availability of grid power. On the other hand, the operators are required to meet minimum roll out obligations (coverage) and meet Quality of service levels (network up time) or face heavy penalties and even loss of their Licenses. To minimize environmental impact, all operators first use battery power and when these run out, switch to diesel generators which increases the cost of operation by three or four times and adds to operational complexities.

[advt]Despite all challenges and constraints, Bharti Infratel has taken proactive and bold steps to mitigate and improve operations to provide 24×7 network service uptime. Airtel’s GreenTowers P7 initiative is a comprehensive energy efficiency and alternate energy programme covering seven high impact initiatives, which are aimed at reducing diesel usage and therefore the carbon footprint.

These initiatives include:

  1. Alternate energy sources like solar etc. – these are clean energy solutions and have today proven their case as a strong alternate to conventional sources of energy. Having already deployed these at around 1050 sites (inclusive of 500 nos. of Indus Towers), which has saved 6.9 mn litres of diesel and around Rs. 280 mn.
  2. Energy efficiency measures like Integrated Power Management System (IPMS) and variable speed DC generators (DCDG) – this has reduced diesel consumption by 1.2 mn litres and already saved Rs. 47 mn across almost 900 sites where this has been implemented.
  3. Demand side management like Free Cooling Units (FCU) instead of air conditioners etc. substantially reducing the electrical load requirement. This has already been implemented across 3400+ sites, saving consumption of 4.1 mn litres of diesel.

Bharti Infratel telecom tower company has installed almost 3 MWT of solar capacity on our network, generating more than 5 mn units of electricity every year.

The GreenTowers P7 programme is scoped for 22,000 tower sites, (primarily rural areas having low or no Grid Power availability) out of which 5,500 sites have already been implemented in the first year as part of this 3-year programme. Once completed, the initiative will reduce diesel consumption by 66 mn litres per year; with a significant carbon-di-oxide reduction of around 1.5 lacs MT per year.

Within Bharti Airtel, a number of initiatives have been launched last year aiming to reduce energy consumption in lighting and air conditioning areas. The company has installed Solar Hot Water Generator at its main campus in Gurgaon for fulfilling the hot water requirement in the cafeteria. Majority of its facilities across NCR region are now installed with LES (Lighting Energy Savers), which have reduced energy consumption in the lighting system to the tune of 10-25%.

Variable Frequency Drives installed in AHU (Air Handling Unit) at its Campus have helped in enhancing the efficiency of cooling system by 10%. These measures have resulted in a saving of 8.5 lakh units of electricity per year. airtel has embarked upon technology related initiatives like virtualization of servers that have helped it release over 500 CPUs. Additionally, we are now moving towards cloud based services to take virtualization to the next level.

Additionally, the drive of sending e-bills to the post-paid customers is helping save 12,840 trees annually. Within its campus, the ‘Secure Print’solution – an automated queue management based secured printing solution that has led to an annualized saving of about 8 metric tonnes of paper.

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