According to ABI Research’s recent report, ‘A Telco Sustainability Reality Check’, more than 90% of operators’ operational footprints are due to electricity used to support their networking operations. That’s why most operators measure their sustainability using metrics like ‘energy used per bit of data transported’, ‘energy consumption per base station or cell site’, and/or ‘energy per connection’.
In addition, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors now have a major impact on investors’ perception of brand value. This trend is explored in detail in Deloitte’s article, ‘ESG in Technology, Media & Telecommunications’, which explains how both investors and regulators, including the European Union, are focusing on ESG performance and sustainability, resulting in more frequent and more rigorous requests for information about telco’s environmental practices and performance.
Being fully aware of the importance of ESG and sustainability, operators are investing heavily in more efficient infrastructure and educating teams in green operations to maximise energy efficiency across all of their departments, activities and sites.
According to ABI Research, operators are making major strides in sustainability, particularly in Europe, where four operators now using 100% renewable energy, and all 10 of the industry leading service providers adopting green energy at a faster rate than peers in other regions. ABI also sites network upgrades (from 3G/4G to 5G), and the replacement of copper with fibre as major contributors to more sustainable network operations.
But to meet their carbon reduction targets (or, in some cases, carbon neutral targets), operators also need to minimize indirect emissions (Scope 2 emissions and Scope 3 emissions), including emissions created by supply chain partners such as network infrastructure and service providers. This requires all organisations in the telecommunications value chain to maximise their energy efficiency – and, of course, to use energy from renewable sources to the greatest extent possible.
Why abundant renewable energy is key to success
One of the biggest issues facing European operators is the relative scarcity of energy from renewable sources. For example, renewable energy made up around 14% of total energy used in the European Union in 2012, and this figure increased by almost 8% to around 22% in 2021.
Bearing in mind that the European Union has set a goal for carbon neutrality by 2050 – and many companies hope to become carbon neutral by 2030 – migration to renewable energy sources across the industry needs to start happening at a much faster rate.
To support this move, renewable energy needs to be generated efficiently, reliably and at scale. These capabilities will gradually enable divestment from fossil fuel-based energy sources, while also ensuring that telecommunications operators can grow their operations sustainably to support the growing bandwidth demands of businesses and consumers – with no need to relocate sites in the future due to energy shortages.
Introducing Norway’s green energy opportunity
Norway is one of the largest producers of green energy in Europe, with 2.8 TWh of power coming from wind turbines, 0.2 TWh of heat generated by biodiesel fuels, and a massive 143 TWh provided by hydroelectric power production. All this means that Norway generates 98% of its energy supply from green energy sources.
Norway is also an innovation centre for reusing energy and heat to increase sustainability, which is also a major plus for operators with sites in the country.
On top of all this, Norway is predicted to have a long-term surplus in green energy production, ensuring that operators in the country can meet their sustainability targets long term, with no risk of future price rises or energy shortages.
The network that brings Norway close to everywhere
Until recently, relocating services and workloads to Norway to take advantage of the country’s green energy resources was not possible, not least because of the large distances between Norwegian communications hubs and key networking centres in the Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris (FLAP) ring. However, one network infrastructure provider – Altibox Carrier – can now close this physical distance, with super-fast network connectivity that places Norway within just a few milliseconds of enterprise customers, datacentres and end-user populations across Europe and beyond.
By making it possible for service providers to relocate platforms, applications and workloads to Norway, and access Norway’s abundant green energy resources, Altibox Carrier’s network opens the door to environmental sustainability and increased investor and stakeholder confidence and value.
The fact that Altibox Carrier’s network runs on green energy also helps operators to minimise their Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions. To further increase sustainability and value, Altibox partnerships with green datacentres in Norway, such as Green Mountain, which runs its operations on renewable energy at Europe’s lowest cost.
Take the next steps on your sustainability journey
To find out more about how Altibox Carrier can help operators to increase sustainability and meet carbon neutral targets based on access to Norway’s abundant, green energy, please visit our website, or contact the Altibox Carrier team for a meeting.