Regulators

TRAI sets new targets for carbon emissions by telecom sector

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NEW DELHI: With the world coming to grips with problems of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has set 30% as the target for reduction in carbon emission by the year 2019-20 and 40 per cent by the year 2022-23 taking the base year as 2011-12.

The regulator has revised the formula for calculation of carbon footprint by only recommending the target for overall reduction, in its recommendations following responses to its consultation paper issued early this year. TRAI has decided not to recommend any sub-targets for induction of RET.

The directives of the Department of Telecom of 4 January 2012 have been amended in its recommendations.

TRAI is in the process of preparing a strategy to tackle the problems created by the telecom sector concerning climate change.

Following a request received from the DoT, TRAI had issued the Consultation Paper on Approach towards Sustainable Telecommunications on 16 January 2017. The paper had raised 14 questions on which stakeholders had to respond by 27 February 2017 but this date was extended to 28 March 2017.

TRAI had issued a paper on similar issues in 2012 and the DoT had in fact given directions on that basis, but new issues have cropped up with emerging technologies.

India has the second largest and fastest growing mobile telephone market in the world. Power and energy consumption for telecom network operations is by far the most important significant contributor of carbon emissions in the telecom industry.

Hence, it is important for the telecom operators to shift to energy-efficient technologies and alternate sources of energy. Moreover, going green has also become a business necessity for telecom operators with energy costs becoming as large as 25 per cent of total network operations costs. A typical communications company spends nearly one per cent of its revenues on energy which for large operators may amount to several million rupees.

The Telecom Sector witnessed substantial growth in the number of subscribers during the year 2015-16 and up to September 2016. As of November 2016, the subscriber base was 1123.95 million, out of which 1099.51 million were wireless subscribers.

To develop the roadmap, a comprehensive program and viability gap funding for mobilising the renewable energy technology deployment in telecom sector, DoT constituted a Renewable Energy Technology (RET) committee that submitted its report on 1 August 2014. The recommendations of RET committee were further examined by a departmental committee which has submitted its report in May 2015.

In light of the above mentioned reports of the Committee and deliberation thereof, DoT had sought recommendations of TRAI on the methodology of measuring Carbon Emission and calibration of Directives issued by DoT in 2012 and approach for implementation (Target on the implementation of RETs).

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