GSMA and International Finance Corporation partner to support investment in the renewable energy base station market
Date: Tue, 11/24/2009 - 18:26
The GSMA, the body that represents the worldwide mobile communications industry, announced that its Green Power for Mobile (GPM) programme is working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, to support mobile operators in exploring the use of renewable energy base stations as a means of optimizing capital and operating expenditures
Through this collaboration, mobile operators in developing markets can benefit from technical assistance programmes, market research, and knowledge sharing programmes to help them implement large scale renewable energy powered networks.
The overall goal is to make cost effective renewable energy solutions a widely used power source for off-grid locations by 2012. The initiative offers a direct way to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in off-grid parts of the developing world. IFC plans to identify and pursue green power investments that expand the mobile industry’s use of renewable energy powered networks in developing countries. IFC will act independently as an anchored investor, offering developing country mobile operators a variety of financial instruments to enable the implementation of viable business models that leverage renewable power for long term efficiency gains.
“We have estimated that mobile operators across the developing world will incur a US$14.6 billion diesel bill from powering off-grid base stations by 2012,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA. “Working together with IFC, we hope to address this by helping mobile operators to expand network coverage into remote regions, deploy renewable energy base stations, reduce their energy costs and minimise impact on the environment.”
“IFC is delighted to collaborate with GSMA to enable the expansion of mobile coverage to remote regions and the under-served in the developing world, thus bridging the digital divide, based on the highest standards for a sustainable environment,” said Mohsen Khalil, Director of the joint World Bank/IFC Global Information and Communication Technologies Department, the unit responsible for the IFC partnership.
Through the relationship, GPM will offer a Feasibility Study service to mobile operators with an interest in increasing their use of green power solutions. The service involves a technical and financial analysis of an operator’s base station network to identify priority candidate sites and optimum renewable energy technology, to forecast capital expenditure and return on investment, and assist with implementation planning. GPM will also be developing training curriculums to provide further technical assistance and educate mobile operators in the process of implementing renewable energy base stations.
GPM has also set up a dynamic and evolving database to monitor the progress that the industry is making towards reaching the GPM target of powering 118,000 new and existing off-grid base stations in developing countries using renewable energy sources by 2012.