Industry stakeholders in the telecoms sector, including academia, have advised on the need for telecoms’ operators to invest in alternative clean energy like renewable energy, insisting that such investment will lower cost of operation and at the same time, reduce carbon emission in the society.
The stakeholders gave the advice in Lagos recently, during a roundtable forum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Vice President, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, Mrs. Damilola Asaleye, who delivered the first lead paper at the forum, decried lack of access to electricity among people in sub Sahara Africa, and the huge cost of powering telecommunication base stations with diesel. She said investment in renewable energy would help telecoms operators to save cost.
She suggested various forms of clean energy like Solar, Hyrdro, Wind Turbine that operators could invest in to power their base stations.
Manager, Field Operations at 9mobile, Mr. Okechukwu Nzeduba, who presented the second lead paper, said 9mobile had between 2021 and 2022, invested in alternative clean energy that reduced its energy consumption by 21 million Kilowatt, adding that 9mobile is interested in partnering any energy company that can supply it with renewable energy on pay-as-you-use basis.
Speaking during one of the panel sessions, Prof. Jacob Aweda from the University of Ilorin, said most of the universities were already involved in different researches in renewable energy, but called on government to support renewable energy initiatives by creating the enabling environment for Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) to partner universities for the development renewable energy.
Prof Samuel Azi from the University of Benin, who was also on the panel, addressed the issue of import dependence of renewable energy equipment, said investment in renewable energy remained capital intensive because most of the equipment were imported.
He said continuous research in the area of renewable energy would go a long way to address the challenge.
In his welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC, Ubale Maska, said alternative clean energy would address energy paucity in the telecoms sector.
“The telecom sector, like many other industries, has a significant role to play in transitioning to a sustainable energy future. It is our responsibility to ensure that the growth of the telecom sector is achieved in a manner that is environmentally friendly and in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our goal is to safeguard the environment for consumers and other users of telecom services while also contributing to the achievement of net-zero emissions,” Danbatta said.