… Plans Policy To Address And Manage Renewable Energy
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has put policies in place to ensure that Nigeria benefits from the energy efficiency measures that will reduce operating costs of telecom companies by up to 20%.
Speaking Wednesday in Abuja in commemoration of the annual World Consumer Right Day (WCRD) with the theme, “Empowering Consumers Through Clean Energy Transition”, the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta noted that transitioning to a renewable energy source like solar power will also significantly reduce the menace of pollution from individually-powered generators. This will be zero carbon emission from the BTS just as noise pollution would be a thing of the past.
“In this regard and for the industry stakeholders, especially consumers, to benefit from the advantages of renewable energy, the Commission is working on a policy to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources by operators. When operational, the Policy will ensure that using clean energy sources for power has the potential to resolve the three key needs of the telecom industry, namely: reduction in diesel usage; expansion of telecom infrastructure to off-grid areas; and reduction in carbon emissions.”
He charged operators to be proactive. “Consequently, to minimize the environmental impacts of climate change caused by carbon emissions, telecom network providers need to come up with a modern and more energy-efficient network. This includes the use of Solar-powered Cells, wireless electricity or a hybrid system to replace higher energy-consuming equipment that will lead to a reduction in capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) and by implication, a reduction in service costs to consumers.”
The EVC noted that some of these energy-efficiency measures will also include the redesign of the Radio Access Networks (RAN) of Base Stations which were initially built to maximise connectivity, not energy efficiency. “More than 75% of the time, the radio base station resources remain unused because of the hardware components activated at all times to transmit system information and synchronisation and reference signals. Therefore, to avoid waste heat, some of 5G’s newest RAN is equipped with an energy-saving measure allowing for the automatic switching of components. Some other energy efficiency measures can also include the use of renewable energy sources (hydrogen, wind, solar) to supply the energy needed.”
The Commission, as a responsive world-class organisation, Danbatta said, has been proactive in responding to the realities and challenges posed by the impact of using fossil fuel as a power source in the telecommunications industry. In this regard, the situation in Nigeria is peculiar. Owing to the overall energy challenges of the nation, the fifty-four (54) thousand BTS scattered across the country depend on diesel generators with the attendant noise and environmental pollution. Some of these BTS operate on diesel generators for 24 hours across seven days of the week in some locations.
While envisaging that Nigeria will witness an increased deployment of telecom infrastructure to satisfy the wireless service coverage requirement for recently licensed 5G services, he said this anticipated growth in the number of 5G coverage will trigger high demand for data services which will result in increased energy consumption for the network infrastructure especially the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G Customer Premise Equipment (CPEs) and mobile devices. “This requires the industry to look for green and sustainable power solutions required for the connectivity of IoT devices and network optimisation.”
The new policy by the Commission will further address such areas as collocation and infrastructure sharing framework, which it noted is a regulatory framework that encouraged operators to fully maximize their already-deployment infrastructure. Other areas will include factoring in energy efficiency in Type Approval. “Our Type Approval of devices factors in energy efficiency, among others, which ensures a reduction of power consumption. It also ensures that Radio Frequency devices used in Nigeria operate effectively, without causing harmful interference and otherwise comply with the Commission’s technical requirement prior to importation or marketing.”
Also the commission’s Policy will be geared towards ensuring that its annual tech innovation competition for young innovators in Nigeria addresses the challenges of renewable energy; and regulations on further harp on proposed e-Waste regulation, which is being developed with other relevant agencies.
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