Green telco towers saving energy

Renewable energy, once considered an impractical solution for powering vital telecommunications infrastructure, may now warrant a second look as a leading integrated tower infrastructure operator claims considerable success in bringing electricity to rural Bangladesh.

edotco Bangladesh, has been at the forefront of the country’s tower infrastructure landscape since 2013, successfully utilising renewable energy and innovative green technology in many of its tower sites, reducing the carbon footprint of its operations by 20 percent. The company operates about 9000 mobile towers in Bangladesh, of which about 500 run on solar and wind energy. edotco’s wind turbines are able to produce more than 10 kilowatts of energy in normal conditions and can function without any glitches even during adverse weather conditions.

edotco’s green telco tower site generates about 4 kilowatts of electric energy on average from an installed solar power facility. The company also distributes around 200W from each of these towers to the communities around the site for free. Through edotco’s “Tower to Power” project in Bangladesh, as of August 2017, more than 160 homes, 13 mosques and 2 schools have been able to improve their lives with the surplus electricity received since 2016. The “Tower to Power” project initiative falls under edotco’s corporate social responsibility and sustainability focus, which is targeted at creating positive social and economic impact in the local communities the company operates in.

Other than Nijhum Dweep island, edotco has also been supplying electricity to rural communities in Shibpur, Nazirpur and Kuakata. The company has also been able to supply clean and safe drinking water to villagers in Nilphamari through its solar-powered water-pumps under its tower to power project. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in 2011 provisioned for alternative and renewable energy to be utilised in at least 5 percent of the country’s 35,000 telecom tower sites.

Talking with the Bangladesh Post, BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmud is optimistic about prospect of Bangladesh’s renewable energy saying its use at tower sites will increase more than 5 percent. “Tower operators have long been studying the feasibility and availability of renewable energy for their sites. If the infrastructure is in place, there is no reason why more sites are not using renewable energy,” he said.

Applauding edotco’s green initiatives, Abu Naser Khan, founder of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), a community-based environmental group, said: “If an operator implements renewable energy and sees significant benefit from it, it may encourage other operators to also join in. This will increase the use of cleaner alternative energy sources and will ease the fuel shortage in our country as well as reduce carbon emissions”.

Rahul Chaudhary, edotco’s Managing Director for Bangladesh, said: “edotco is able to bring innovative and green solutions and initiatives such as the Tower to Power project to Bangladesh’s rural and remote communities, thereby enhancing the quality of the residents’ lives and providing network coverage amid the country’s power shortage. Such initiatives also help us extend our business footprint to other parts of Bangladesh.” He said edotco’s green telco tower site generates about 4 kilowatts of electric energy on average from an installed solar power facility. “We distribute around 200W from each of these towers to the communities around it for free.”

View source version: http://www.thebangladeshpost.com/supplement/10961