Diesel subsidy being misused by telecom sector: Greenpeace

Report released estimates an annual loss of around Rs 2,600 crore to the state exchequer

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Neha Sethi | May 18, 2011



The subsidy on diesel is being ‘aggressively exploited by the telecom sector’, says a report released by Greenpeace on Wednesday. It estimates the annual loss of this to be around Rs 2,600 crore to the state exchequer.

The report, titled ‘Dirty Talking – A Case for telecom to shift from diesel to renewable’, points out that the telecom sector can become a transformative force by adopting renewable energy for their business operations and advocating economy wide climate and energy solutions.

It builds on the previous industry and government research which show that at current growth rates, the sector would require 26 billion KWh of electricity and 3 billion liters of diesel by 2012.

"With growth, the sector’s appetite for energy will increase, making it a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions unless the industry adopts and advocates renewable energy use and backs laws to cut global warming," Mrinmoy Chattaraj, climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace India and co-author of the report, told a press briefing in New Delhi.

Chattaraj said that the telecom sector sector is well positioned to transit to a low-carbon growth trajectory, and added, “They must use their influence to promote policies that will allow them to grow responsibly without helping to fuel climate change.”

Greenpeace also called upon the telecom operators to publicly disclose their annual carbon emissions and shift toward clean source of energy by powering 50 percent of their mobile towers through renewable energy by 2015.

Key findings of the report:

•       The telecom sector in India emitted over 5.6m tonnes of CO2 in 2008 on as a result of diesel use. Emissions have since risen, and are likely to increase significantly with the sector’s predicted exponential growth over the next few years

•    A shift in power sourcing to renewable technologies, such as solar photovoltaic, will result in a close to 300 per cent reduction in total costs for telecom operators, in comparison to a diesel generator based tower over ten years.

•    Failure of the industry in disclosing its carbon emissions and committing to reduction of emissions in a public and transparent manner on a consistent basis.

•    Telecom operators have yet to shift the sourcing of their power requirements to renewable sources at scales of significance. The investment required to power the entire network towers in the country by renewable is approximately Rs 15, 000 crore, which is more economically feasible than diesel based network towers in the longer run.

The overall emission of telecom network towers (diesel consumption and grid connected electricity in combination) was around 13.6 million tonnes.

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