Energy Efficiency in Telecommunications: Untapped Potential

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Geoff Overland's picture
Outreach Lead, Telecommunications Services, Franklin Energy
  • Member since 2020
  • 1 items added with 1,153 views
  • Nov 4, 2020

The development and advancement of digital technology has seen explosive growth in recent years. Technologies in telecommunications allow us to tap into the power of information in unprecedented ways. Thanks to technological innovation, we can do previously unimaginable things. Since the birth of the internet, we’ve seen the evolution of desktop and personal computers, connectivity, e-commerce and more. Growing alongside these innovations, consumers have come to rely upon the convenience of 24/7 connectivity, search engines, mobile accessibility, smart phones, and even social platforms. As if that weren’t enough, the introduction of smart TV’s, smart apps, wearable technology and data streaming now allow us to manage every aspect of our lives from the palm of our hand—or the back of our wrist. All these advances have enabled and empowered the Internet of Things (IoT) to come together to improve everyday life. There is no question whether telecommunications has reshaped the way we live, work, and interact with each other as well as our environment.

However, technological advancements in telecommunications have resulted in substantially higher energy usage and costs nationwide. According to McKinsey Global Institute, energy costs account for as much as 7 percent of operating costs for the telecommunications industry. And with widespread adoption of 5G technology, those costs are only expected to grow. With the need for energy savings within telecommunications, energy efficiency now plays a pivotal role in minimizing energy usage, achieving peak performance, consistency, and system reliability.

A Case for Energy Efficiency in Telecommunications

In a global economy with savvy consumers seeking a sustainable lifestyle, energy costs are just one part of the equation. Telecommunications accounts for 2 to 3 percent of total global energy demand, making it one of the most energy-intensive industries on the market. In a study recently conducted by Futerra, it was revealed that 88 percent of consumers prefer to do business with a provider who is prepared to help them improve their environmental and social footprint. A provider that speaks to their own environmental values isn’t enough, however; consumers want a provider that can help the community live those values as well. Today’s providers need to pitch a value proposition that extends beyond providing a better, more cost-effective product than the competition. They also need to show consumers how they intend to help the community reduce their carbon footprint and live a more sustainable future.

As a utility, how can you help your telecommunications customers meet the sustainable needs of their customers, while meeting their own needs in the process?

Opportunities for Reduced Consumption and More

Today, advanced infrastructure and modernization of large electrical components have placed new demands on telecommunications. With the deployment of 5G wireless and 10Gb transmission speeds for cable, the need for energy efficiency and improved utilization has taken a prominent position in the development process.

Introducing Telecommunications Optimization

Increased capacity to meet extensive demand requires a solutions-driven, comprehensive approach to capture the substantial opportunities that exist. In mobile networks for example, transferring data only consumes approximately 15 percent of energy. The remaining 85 percent is wasted due to heat loss to power amplifiers, equipment kept idling when there is no data transmission, and inefficiencies in systems such as rectifiers, cooling systems and battery units.

Additional savings can be found in deploying artificial intelligence (AI), cloud-based solutions, and leveraging solutions within the IoT. Projects should be focused on structural and architectural transformations, as well as more sustainable energy sourcing. These changes alone could lead to savings as high as 20 percent within one year.

With expanded opportunities, savings have the potential to stack up significantly. Utility energy efficiency programs can help telecommunications customers improve business cases on projects such as power system optimization, alternative energy sourcing, airflow management and economization.

Franklin Energy’s telecommunications optimization offer a broad variety of solutions to meet the needs of a customer segment that has experienced an ever-changing landscape. We are reinventing energy efficiency to serve your customers.

Are you ready to reach this largely untapped market? Schedule a meeting with a Franklin Energy expert today to learn how we can work as your trusted partner in telecommunication services.

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Nov 13, 2020

Geoff, I worked in telcom for over 40 years. We had cell sites that run on solar pv energy. All the satellite phone use solar power for the satellites.  The central office equipment is very efficient. 

  In fact fiber optics used for many cell sues is very efficient. It also saves copper as it is no longer needed. 

   So there is always more we can do and it's happening everyday. 

Paul Korzeniowski's picture
Paul Korzeniowski on Nov 19, 2020

Good points about the potential energy consumption that technology advances create. Corporations are interested in 5G because it offers them the potential to distribute processing functions in a more efficient way. But it will need more power. Better for all involved to try and make such interactions as effiicent as possible. 

Geoff Overland's picture
Thank Geoff for the Post!
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