Under pressure from the Government, telecom tower companies in India have banded together to float a contract to buy green power from privately owned green companies in India. Note these fierce competitors have formed a cartel to drive down the prices of buying renewable energy from small suppliers. Telecom towers manage to get subsidies of thousands of crores each year by burning subsidized diesel to power their towers. They not only manage to get massive subsidies but contribute heavily to global warming. The companies have been under pressure from Greenpeace to reduce their carbon footprint. The Government had finally acted by mandating that 50% of the power supplied to the towers must come from renewable energy sources. The companies starting under the new government regulation had floated the EOI in response. However they are not happy to loose the massive subsidy as green power will raise their cost.
Telecom Tower Companies in India put lipstick on Diesel Pig
India has around 300,000 Telecom Towers around the country, a large portion of which is not connected to the electricity grid. Another large portion does not have access to reliable electricity implying they have to install backup power systems in order to run without interruptions. Diesel Generators have been the choice of telecom operators despite their high carbon imprint. This is because of the ease of buying and installing diesel generators as well as the lower fuel costs as the government in India heavily subsidizes diesel.
Telecom Towers are estimated to burn 2 Billion Liters of Diesel ( around 500 million barrels) annually at a cost of Rs 7000 crores. While the Government has been trying to convert these towers to renewable energy forms, most of the tower operators have been very slow to implement this change. Indus Towers the largest one plans only 2.5% conversion while the others like GTL, Viom and American Tower are doing only marginally better. Note there are easy solution to this problem with alternatives like Fuel Cells, Small Wind and Bio Diesel. But the private operators are only interested in the money and without serious Government prodding would not move. Diesel Prices can easily move up 30-40%, if the Government removes the subsidy. This will really make these Telecom Operators move quickly towards renewable energy instead of the their putting Lipstick on the Diesel Pig. Note most of the telecom expansion will now happen in rural areas where almost every tower will burn more Oil.
At least 25 Renewable Energy Service Companies (Rescos) have expressed interest in supplying energy to telecom tower companies.
Tower companies, including Indus, Bharti Infratel, American Tower Corporation and Viom, had floated a joint proposal for the project.
Under this project, the Rescos will set up renewable energy-based power plants near the telecom towers and sell power to the telecom company at a predetermined cost on a pay per use model.