The Department of Telecom (DoT) has set 2019 as the deadline for telecom providers to adopt green policy norms. The policy requires that telecom service providers lower carbon emissions by 17 per cent in the next five years. The DOT had enlisted services of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to also evolve a carbon credit policy for mobile phone companies.
At present, more than half of all telecom towers in the country run on diesel generators. As per the adoption of green policy, these will be shifted to renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind or biomass. DOT requires that 50 per cent of all towers in rural areas and 20 per cent in urban areas to hybrid power by 2015 and 75 per cent of all cell towers in rural areas and 33 per cent in urban areas to hybrid power by 2020.
A single telecom tower consumes 8,760 litres diesel annually, assuming 8 hours of operation by diesel generator sets.
Telecom companies so far have been hesitant to adopt these norms and have demanded viability gap funding (VGF)before agreeing to shift towards renewable sources of energy.
DoT has put in place elaborate plans to provide bank loans, easy interest rates and longer loan tenures t ease some of the burden that will fall because of sourcing renewable energy that is more expensive.