energy infrastucture

Sustainability, climate and equity (SC&E) are becoming increasingly important to telecom and broadband providers. A new report from consulting firm Deloitte offers some eye-opening data that illustrates why this should be a top priority for the industry.

Energy constitutes 20% to 40% of network operating costs for telecom operators, Deloitte notes.

“Thus, there may be a financial as well as societal motivation for improving energy efficiency,” the report authors said.

They also noted that stakeholders — the public, groups within the organizations, industry groups, regulators and investors – seem to increasingly evaluate companies on how they “frame and communicate their sustainability agenda” and create value for themselves and society.

The amount of SC&E information that companies must report could grow as well. Last March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed rules that would increase requirement for climate-related disclosures on financial statements and related documents. If adopted, the new rules would require estimates of progress toward climate-related goals, governance and risk management in a new section on Form 10-Ks.

The information and communications technology (ICT) sector has focused more closely on energy consumption and minimizing their contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Deloitte telecom SC&E research. ICT companies could further contribute by helping the organizations they serve improve their SC&E performance by advocating for virtual meetings and use of the IoT to optimize energy use.

The report says that a European telecom company said that ICT can help shrink customers’ carbon emissions from 4% to 5%.

The telecom industry is paying attention to SC&E. Some examples:

  • Comcast announced an agreement to purchase 250 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity from Constellation. The purchase would serve about 12% of its U.S. operations, including most of its mid-Atlantic operations. Last September, the company said that it aims to double its network energy efficiency by 2030. The goal is to be carbon neutral for its scope 1 (direct) and scope 2 (indirect) emissions by 2035.  
  • T-Mobile said it sourced 100% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2021.
  • Last January, Verizon signed seven renewable energy purchase agreements (REPAs)with three organizations for a total of 910 MWs of renewable energy.
  • In September 2021, Windstream said that it had signed a five-year retail renewable energy agreement with ENGIE Resources for electricity and renewable energy credits from ENGIE’s Live Oak wind project in Texas. This will provide all of Windstream’s forecasted electricity consumption demands at more than 400 Texas locations.

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