In its report on the impact of operator initiatives on energy and carbon emissions management, GSMA concluded that networks can save up to $2 billion (S$2.5B) per year. The study is an update to GSMA’s 2009 landmark report: ”Mobile’s Green Manifesto.”
The report used data and analysis from the GSMA’s Mobile Energy Efficiency Benchmarking (MEE) service to calculate both the energy costs and the CO(2)e emissions that result from the electricity and diesel consumption of mobile networks(2) globally. The MEE Benchmarking analysis shows that if all networks with above average energy consumption are improved to the industry average, there is a potential energy cost saving for mobile operators of $1 billion per annum at 2010 prices; improving to the top quartile could save over $2 billion annually.
Analyzing 34 mobile networks around the world (16 from developed countries and 18 from emerging countries), the study showed the following:
- Total network energy consumption increased only slightly, despite considerable growth in network traffic from 2009 to 2010.
- The total energy per unit in traffic dipped to around 20% in 2009 to 2010.
- Energy per connection for 2009 to 2010 decreased by 5%.
The results indicate the mobile communications industry is well on its way to reducing its total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per connection up to 40% by the year 2020.
Gabriel Solomon, Head of Regulatory Policy GSMA spoke about the role of the mobile network industry in reducing carbon emissions and their potential savings.
This is the first ever detailed global estimate of mobile network energy consumption and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO(2)e) emissions and it shows that the mobile industry is making progress in reducing its own emissions and energy costs, as well as those in other industry sectors. Mobile can enable savings through a range of smart applications and can contribute to a reduction of total emissions that is at least four to five times its own carbon footprint.
With device inter-connectivity (smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices) allowing linkups to cars, health services or even entire cities, numerous other industries will see a positive impact. The mobile communications industry will enable significant reductions in GHG emissions while saving energy for a whole range of sectors of the economy. Mobile industries will eventually generate further savings if the trend continues. GHG emissions reduction will reach 3 million tonnes of CO(2)e every year with 26 million M2M connections going on around the world.
- The US and Canada use 50 per cent of mobile M2M connections and decrease emissions by 38% of global GHG.
- Asia Pacific accounts for 23 per cent of M2M connections and reduces emissions by 30%.
- Western Europe represents 17 per cent of connections and generates 23% in GHG savings.
Smart applications will generate future savings — such as in M2M communications, particularly in applications like smart grids, meters, as well as smart transportation and logistics. The mobile industry will contribute to the reduction of man-made GHG emissions. Mobile operators will soon have a significant environmental and commercial opportunity for helping companies in other industries to reduce their GHG emissions and cut energy costs.
GSMA posits it potential scenario for greater savings and reduction of CO(2)e emissions:
- Global mobile M2M connections in smart grids, smart meters and fleet management are forecast to grow strongly, at 30 to 40 per cent per annum, reaching approximately 100 million mobile M2M connections worldwide by 2015. This would result in possible GHG savings of 18 Mt CO(2)e — the equivalent of taking up to 4 million cars off the road (assuming annual emissions per car of 4 tonnes of CO(2)e).
- Mobile can potentially enable much greater emissions savings of at least 900 Mt CO(2)e by 2020 — which is 1.7 per cent of the global 2020 GHG emissions forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its “business-as-usual” scenario.
- Emissions reduction in 2020 will result from the use of 3.5 billion mobile M2M connections as well as from mobile dematerialisation applications — where travel, products and processes are substituted by virtual alternatives.
As more operators join GSMA’s MEE benchmarking service, the estimations become more accurate on total mobile network energy consumption, energy cost and CO(2)e emissions. The results can be used to track industry performance over time. The GSMA will continue to work with regulators and standards bodies to ensure the MEE Benchmarking methodology (already included in a global standard by the International Telecommunication Union), fits with other methodologies developed by the global ICT industry. Future development may include life cycle assessment of energy and carbon emissions based on an approach agreed by operators and manufacturers.
Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators — as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. This includes handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.
June 21, 2012
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