At least 25 Renewable Energy Service Companies (Rescos) have expressed interest in supplying energy to telecom tower companies.

Tower companies, including Indus, Bharti Infratel, American Tower Corporation and Viom, had floated a joint proposal for the project.

Under this project, the Rescos will set up renewable energy-based power plants near the telecom towers and sell power to the telecom company at a predetermined cost on a pay per use model.

The power generated by the Rescos will be off-grid. But additional power generated by them can also be sold to commercial users living in areas where the power plants are located

The Tower and Infrastructure Providers’ Association had floated the Request for Proposal inviting NGOs and private green power companies to generate and supply off-grid power to telecom towers in the country.

TRAI regulation

This comes in the wake of TRAI’s recent regulation directing all telecom service providers to ensure that part of the power that is used for the towers comes from renewable sources.

Under the new rules, at least 50 per cent of towers and 20 per cent of the urban towers are to be powered by hybrid energy sources (renewable and grid) by 2015. The move is aimed at reducing carbon emissions due to increased dependence on diesel.

However, the tower companies are not too happy with the regulations.

According to them, the dictate from the regulator was unfair as they are being forced to adopt a particular technology.

“It is okay to tell us that we need to reduce carbon emissions but why tell us how to do it,” posed a Delhi-based tower firm.

Tower companies currently spent 20 per cent of their operational expense on buying diesel for powering tower sites.

“We ourselves want to reduce the cost on diesel but the Government should give us alternative power supply. Why should tower firms start generating energy?” posed another tower firm.

thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 12, 2012)
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