With more data being transferred across mobile networks, demand for energy is increasing each year. This threatens operator energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets. While energy costs are a significant proportion of operator’s Operational Expenditure (OpEx), it is also an area with many opportunities for OpEx savings with targeted Capital Expenditure (CapEx) on energy efficiency measures.
These case studies show global best practice to achieve energy reductions:
Energy efficiency strategy
Telefónica has a strong strategy that integrates climate change and energy that is fully embedded in their business strategy. They are committed to reducing their carbon footprint, but, secondly and more significantly, they offer digital products and services which reduce their customers’ emissions.
This case study focuses on both the challenges and achievements delivered by Telenor’s energy efficiency network transformation, which focused on a five point Energy Management Plan (EMP) to address the challenges of supply, unpredictability and sustainability.
- Ensure fuel-efficient, reliable sources of power and use more efficient generators as a backup source
- Development of a stronger energy storage backbone through the implementation of a remote monitoring system
- Modernisation of equipment
- Site sharing
- Implementing common technical and commercial KPIs and enabling smart operations.
SKT tackled the challenges and optimisation of transport with innovative transport architecture: RAN with an innovative fronthaul (transport) network solution called 5G-PON (Passive Optical Network). 5G-PON reduces the size of the remote unit at the very last mile and supports flexible installation/configuration of the front haul networks.
China Telecom’s small cell backhaul innovative solution is based on Passive Optical Network (PON) system. It can potentially reduce at least 80% of the trunk fibre and 50% of associated fibre. As a result making facility room and air-conditioning unnecessary and therefore effectively reducing the CapEX and OpEx of small cell deployment.
Energy efficiency services
AT&T has two innovative energy efficiency solutions; Efficiency-as-a-Service (EaaS), a platform that helps companies overcome obstacles to large-scale energy efficiency deployments, and a data-driven solution to realise energy and operations savings across a large, distributed portfolio of buildings delivered by the Energy and Building Management Solution (EBMS).
Turkcell’s case study focuses on holistic infrastructure management for Direct Current (DC) power systems, acclimatisation and generators, which was developed largely in-house. The solution is focussed on two key innovations; Intelligent infrastructure, enabled through the transformation of legacy equipment with cost-effective solutions and sensors developed in house by Turkcell and; Hardware investment and deployment based on actual site needs to provide remote management capabilities.
Vertiv and Telefónica
Energy Savings as a Service (ESaaS) is a disruptive offering that will completely alter the way large operators optimise their infrastructure. Vertiv’s agreement with Telefónica is to design, invest, implement, operate and maintain the infrastructure that achieves energy savings to the benefit of both organisations. The model is an attractive one from an accounting, financial and operational perspective, and importantly, removes some critical inhibitors to realising energy efficiency gains.
AI and network automation
This case study focuses on the deployment of Intelligent Energy Saver (IES) from Elisa Automate by Elisa, the leading mobile network operator in Finland.
It describes the role of IES in unlocking energy consumption savings delivered through efficient RAN management. IES provides accurate measurement of energy consumption, for each base station element and across the entire network, allowing more effective management of the activity. This enables cells to be switched off and restored to service, according to the real needs of each site. It generates significant savings in energy costs – up to 14%, above and beyond existing, static techniques – with no negative impact on subscriber experience. Not only does this save considerable costs, but it also reduces the overall carbon footprint and contributes to sustainability goals. IES has already saved Elisa 3600 tonnes of CO2, 14% of total RAN emissions to date.
Turkcell and P.I. Works
In 2016 P.I. Works were selected by Turkcell for the deployment of its award-winning automated service assurance solution (also known as Centralized SON). This marked an important milestone in the telecom industry as Turkcell and P.I. Works successfully completed the largest Centralized SON project worldwide in terms of the number of modules deployed, which was recognised with an award at the “Self-Organising Networks World” in 2017.
PowerStar and MTN South Africa
This case study focuses on MTN South Africa’s implementation of the PowerStar solution from Huawei; an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled network-level energy optimisation solution, which analyses site traffic demand to improve overall energy efficiency.
Green base stations (battery storage, battery security, fuel cells, solar)
This case study from Caban Systems focuses on how the challenges and optimisation of powering communication infrastructure can be solved with intelligent power solutions.
Caban Systems uses a power system built from ultra-dense lithium-ion packs, capable of providing standalone power for any telecommunication site, even off-grid sites in remote areas. The power solution is cloud-connected, equipped with multitenant energy tracking, allowing exact energy usage to be correlated with individual operators. Sites with multiple operators can now be powered from one central system. This results in not only a more efficient use of assets but efficient use of energy in general. In addition to the more efficient use of energy, Caban’s ultra-dense packs allow off-grid sites to be powered fully from renewable energy, reducing OPEX considerably.
This case study focuses on both the challenges and optimisation delivered by hybrid generator solution.
It centres on Telecom operators’ energy sources and diesel gen-set as a primary energy source for powering a base station site and the implementation of a hybrid generator, a new and more efficient generator technology.
This case study explores how the GenCell A5 off-grid power solution overcomes the high-costs of powering rural telecoms and offers operators significant OpEx savings. It looks at the technological breakthrough which has led to the world’s first affordable, weather-independent primary power alternative to diesel generators. By providing cost-effective, ultra-reliable, clean power for off-grid and poor-grid telecom base stations, the solution not only offers MNOs the opportunity to improve network reliability, but it also provides a more profitable business case for the extension of tower networks into more rural areas.
Huawei and Safaricom
This case study identifies promising infrastructure solutions and showcases success cases exploring how the RuralStar2.0 solution overcomes the high cost of providing mobile connectivity in rural locations and offers operators significant OpEX savings.
NTT DOCOMO has developed Green Base Stations, a non-traditional, environmental-friendly and sustainable energy supply scheme for radio base stations.
Green Base Stations are equipped with photovoltaic (PV) panels, cycle-type Li-ion storage batteries, DC power controllers, and supply generated power to radio equipment with smart power control. They can make use of renewable energy by local PV power generation, therefore can reduce CO2 emission from commercial electric power use. Additionally, in case of a power outage due to disaster, they work longer time by PV power generation rather than relying on backup power alone.
In recent years, Vodafone Italia has suffered a significant series of break-ins at base station sites – with peaks of over a thousand in a year. Aside from the clear CapEX investment required for re-securing the site and battery replacements, interrupting the battery replenishment cycle creates greater maintenance requirements, leading to increased OpEX. This case study focuses on a key issue that affects mobile operators irrespective of their geographic location base station battery pilferage.
To combat theft, Vodafone in conjunction with the Vodafone Automotive team and their battery suppliers, have installed concealed GPS devices within the battery casing and is indistinguishable from standard non-GPS enabled batteries. When unauthorised movements or vibrations above a certain threshold are detected, the GPS sensors are activated, and movements are monitored in real-time, remotely from Vodafone’s Security Operations Centre (SOC).
Date centre energy efficiency
Submer presents the SmartPodX, the very first commercially available OCP compatible Immersion Cooling system, that conforms to both standard server formats and to Open Compute Project (OCP) specifications for high-performance, supercomputing, hyperscale infrastructures, research and colocation.
In a conventional data centre, approximately 40% of the electricity is used for the cooling system. The SmartPodX allows to save up to 95% of cooling costs (corresponding to about 50% of the electricity consumption) and up to 85% of physical space. In this way, the impact on the environment of a data centre (or HPC) adopting this technology is definitely smaller (or even positive) than a data centre (or HPC) using a traditional air-cooling system. Submer’s LIC technology also relies on a proprietary coolant (SmartCoolant) that is 100% non-hazardous for people or the environment and biodegradable.