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Airtel Makes Case for Green Power Solution

By Kenneth Obasi EZE
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Lagos, Nigeria; January 31, 2013: The need to adopt the green power solution to the challenges posed by power generation to Nigeria's telecom industry took centre stage recently as stakeholders exchanged professional and technical notes at a recent GSM/IFC Green Mobile Forum co-hosted by Airtel, GSMA and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Lagos.

Leading telecommunication operator, Airtel Nigeria, who led the way in Green Power Solutions in the Nigerian telecommunications industry, used the opportunity to call for increased investment in green power generation initiatives as a sure-footed solution to the nation's energy supply challenges.

Speaking at the forum, Airtel's Chief Technical Officer, Awadhesh Kalia, in a paper titled: “Greening the Network: strategy and initiative” noted that an aggressive approach would be required by GSM operators in Nigeria to improve the current level of energy efficiency if the dream of realizing the long-term gains of green power supply would be achieved.

According to him, “Significant investment in green initiative is vital to maximizing business in a responsible manner. There must be field competence, EOM support; institutionalization of the curriculum on telecom power technologies and development of local competence by upgrading skills-set through training and development.”

Mr. Awadhesh also highlighted some of the initiatives undertaken by Airtel Nigeria in its efforts to provide green solutions to its power needs. These include varying combination of solar powered solutions, hybrid, grid and co-location, all of which have been effectively deployed to reduce energy consumption, burning of fossil fuel and carbon footprint. Airtel presently has an eco-system that powers its base stations across the nation.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah pledged the commitment of the Commission to helping operators develop green power solutions to the energy challenges in the industry.

Dr. Juwah who was represented by the Secretary, Universal Service Provision Fund, Alhaji Abdulahi Maikano, said the NCC would give preference and the most subsidies to companies proposing Green power when it opens bidding for broadband penetration into underserved and un-served communities or locations in the country.

His words, “During the bidding for the clusters, companies proposing Green power would be given preference and the most subsidies. This is because aside from the need to protect the planet, the use of traditional power will make deployment in these areas uneconomic as the operational cost will outstrip the revenues that may be generated from these areas. The low operational cost of green power e.g, Solar or wind power makes it viable to deploy in these areas over the long term.”

The two-day Green Power Forum for Mobile working was co-hosted by leading telecommunications operator, Airtel Nigeria and the GSMA in partnership with the International Finance Corporation, and had participation from the NCC, Etisalat, Flexenclosure, Orun Energy Global, Eltek West Africa, MIDATCO Group and IHS among others.