Clean Tech

Romeu Gaspar's picture
Recent developments in renewable energies might overthrow the diesel generator as the technology of choice for off-grid mobile base stations.
Romeu Gaspar
Renewable energy has evolved considerably over the last couple of years. So much, in fact, that solutions recently deemed to be unfeasible might now warrant a second look. Take mobile telecom operators, for instance: diesel generators are usually preferred over renewable energy based solutions for remote off-grid base stations, because they are cheaper and more reliable. In this article we explore three recent developments that might tilt the balance in favor of telecom towers powered by renewable energy.
Exhibit 1 – 2008-2017 mobile telecom subscriptions, by region
Exhibit 2 – Example of a base station powered by a diesel generator (left), and one integrating solar PV (right)
Exhibit 3 – 2001-2012 PV module spot prices
Exhibit 4 – 2012-2018 market value for micro-grids, by region
Exhibit 5 – 2012-2021 market value storage for systems, by technology
Exhibit 6 – 2010-2020 US market value for ESCO services, by application
Catarina Veiga's picture
Yes, but probably not just yet. The latest iterations of the venerable internal combustion engine are still competitive, both from an environmental and an economical standpoint.
Catarina Veiga
The forecasts for global electric vehicle (eV) sales are undoubtedly ambitious – 2 million vehicles sold by 2020 – which reflects the high hopes that both manufacturers and governments are placing on this technology. So far, actual sales have been somewhat lackluster: in 2011 approximately 44.000 electric vehicles were sold, instead of the expected 66.000 units (Exhibit 1). It is not yet an immense difference, but it does raise some questions about the feasibility of the 2020 goal. In this scenario, should you, as a consumer or someone responsible for a company car fleet, buy an electric car?
Exhibit 1 – Global electric vehicle sales forecast for 2010 – 2025 (excludes electric scooters and bicycles)
Exhibit 2 – Comparison between the carbon footprint of a Volkswagen Golf 2.0 Diesel and a Nissan Leaf, for several countries
Exhibit 3 – Fuel consumption for eight vehicles in the same segment as the Volkswagen Golf
Exhibit 4 – Environmental and economical cost comparison for the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen Golf and BWM Series 1, for Portugal and Germany
Exhibit 5 – Savings/costs of choosing a Nissan Leaf or a BMW Series 1 over Volkswagen Golf