Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom are exploring how wind can power 5G mobile sites in order to reduce emissions and help operators cope with soaring power costs.

The site in Dittenheim in Bavaria has been part powered by 12 square metres of solar panels for more than a year. Now the two companies have added a wind turbine capable of providing up to 5 kilowatts of additional power.

The combination of the two sustainable power sources means the site can theoretically run independently of its connection to the conventional electrical power grid, so long as weather conditions allow.

Wireless power

The power system is integrated into the same management system as Ericsson’s radio access network (RAN) equipment which simplifies the installation and control process, with the software driving automation, reducing the risk of hazards, and allowing for the optimum use of energy saved in batteries.

Moving 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 cutting their carbon emissions,” said Heather Johnson, vice president for sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson. “This partnership is a great example of how we’re achieving this through our best-in-class energy efficient equipment, which can be operated entirely with renewable energy.”

Even before the recent rise in energy prices, mobile operators have been looking at ways to make their networks more efficient in order to minimise the impact of rising data consumption and fulfil sustainability commitments. Renewable energies are critical in this endeavour, although 5G itself is a more power-efficient standard by design.

A recent report from the GSMA found the mobile industry had made significant process in decoupling data traffic from electricity use and carbon emissions, with 62% of the sector set to reduce emissions by the end of this decade. Furthermore, half of the industry has committed to reaching net zero by 2050 of earlier.

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