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Updated: September 3, 2012 13:58 IST

Pushing for green growth

Divya Trivedi
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Towering concerns: For an environment friendly world. Photo: V.V. Krishnan
The Hindu Towering concerns: For an environment friendly world. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

As the telecom industry continues on its growth path, a Greenpeace report cautions it to manage its carbon emissions

On the back of a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India directive to telecom companies to reduce diesel consumption and shift to green power, a Greenpeace report also makes a case for reducing the carbon footprint.

Being one of the biggest guzzlers of diesel, next to only the railways, the telecom sector’s transit to energy efficient measures would go a long way in managing the country’s energy efficiency.

At last count, the telecom industry had consumed 3.2 billion litres of diesel and it is forecasted to touch the 6 billion mark by 2020. With over 400,000 network towers dotting the landscape at present, by 2012-14, an estimated 100,000 more towers will be required to meet the growing industry, estimates Greenpeace.

As telecom companies expand to new markets, they are entering areas where power outages are common. For the telecom towers to run, they depend heavily on diesel generators, the easiest mode of alternative electricity generation available in the market.

Though the dependence on diesel benefits the sector with short-term capital gains, in the long run, it would limit growth and profit generation, according to the report.

For the industry to be able to sustain high growth rate, the issue of energy scarcity for rural penetration must be addressed and a road map to a low carbon growth must be adapted. To meet these challenges, business and political leaders need to devise bold and innovative national policies, while pursuing avenues for cooperation, says the report Enabling Clean Talking!

It goes on to add that enforcement of the TRAI regulation would save more than 540 million litres of diesel on an average annually and about 3.5 billion litres of diesel cumulatively by 2015. The cost and energy savings in terms of revenue expenditure from this would be at minimum of Rs 2430 crores annually, estimates the report. Moreover, above 9 million tons of carbon emission could be saved in just over three years’ time. In urban areas this would lead to as additional annual reduction of 123 million litres of diesel and the accumulated revenue savings for the operators, could reach Rs 8,300 crore over 5 years, according to the report.

As the telecom industry continues to grow robustly over the coming years, the business as usual attitude might cripple the sector and have a cascading effect on the economy and rob the potential affluence of billion of Indians by 2020, cautions Greenpeace.

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