Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom are exploring how wind can power 5G mobile sites in order to reduce emissions and help operators cope with higher energy costs.
The site in Dettenheim in Bavaria has been partially powered by 12 square meters of solar panels for over a year. Now the two companies have added wind turbines capable of providing up to 5 kilowatts of additional power.
The combination of the two sustainable energy sources means that the site can theoretically operate independently of its connection to the conventional electric power grid, as long as weather conditions permit.
The power system is integrated into the same management system as Ericsson’s Wireless Access Network (RAN) equipment which simplifies installation and control, while automating software command, minimizing hazard risks, and allowing for optimal use of energy saved in the batteries.
Going forward, the partners will add additional capabilities and ways to store excess energy and explore how fuel cells can replace the need for emergency diesel generators.
“At Ericsson, we are committed to working with our customers to support them in reducing their carbon emissions,” said Heather Johnson, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson. “This partnership is a great example of how we can achieve this with our best-in-class energy efficient equipment, which can be run entirely on renewable energy.”
Even before the recent rise in energy prices, mobile operators have been looking for ways to make their networks more efficient in order to reduce the impact of increased data consumption and meet sustainability commitments. Renewable energies are critical in this endeavor, although 5G itself is a much more energy-efficient standard by design.
A recent report from the GSMA found that the mobile industry has made a significant exercise in decoupling data traffic from electricity use and carbon emissions, with 62% of the sector set to cut emissions by the end of this decade. Moreover, half of the industry has committed to reach net zero by 2050 before.