Martin Barnes, CEO at Crossflow Energy, the renewable energy technology specialist, discusses how the telecoms industry can leverage ‘small’ wind to drive its journey towards Net Zero.
Telecoms and its Journey to Net Zero
Industry leaders are working hard to expand mobile coverage to reach 95 percent of the UK by 2025, while at the same time attempting to respond to the increasing pressure to reach ambitious Net Zero targets. As a result, decision makers are having to think creatively about how to overcome these challenges.
Wind power is one avenue with genuine potential to achieve great things within the industry. Historically, traditional wind turbines have not been widely adopted in the telecoms sector due to historical reliability and maintenance issues, but as innovation has gathered momentum, so have the untapped opportunities of wind power. Indeed, for many, self-powered masts and ‘small wind’ turbines present the perfect solution.
Over the last few years, Crossflow has been working closely with Vodafone to integrate its ‘small wind’ turbine technology, including the latest in solar and battery technology, into mobile phone masts. By using such innovative technologies, this could help operators provide connectivity in remote and hard to reach locations, because they don’t need to be connected to the electricity grid. This makes them a critical tool in the drive towards 95 percent population coverage, whilst also reducing carbon emissions.
Crossflow’s unique Transverse Axis wind turbine incorporates a patented shield which delivers optimum lift and drag performance, across a wide range of wind speeds.
The locally generated renewable power capability reduces the environmental impact of installing this technology on new sites, addressing the concerns that are often associated with conventional turbine technologies. The ability to operate at low rotational speeds, its reduced visual impact, and very low vibration and noise, ensure that the traditional planning challenges are overcome. The turbine is also avian and chiropteran wildlife friendly, especially important in rural areas.
The combination of wind and solar together, along with battery storage systems, also reduces the environmental impact of the site. It acts as an effective method of diesel displacement, reducing the reliance on generators for primary or back-up power. This in turn reduces carbon emissions, something very much on the ‘green agenda’. The on-site power generation means that it is also independent from the electricity grid, again reducing carbon emissions and improving the security of supply, which is hugely important when customers are relying on connectivity.
Applications of ‘small-scale wind’
Companies across the board are under increasing pressure to reach Net Zero targets and do so as soon as possible. By addressing the historical concerns around wind power’s performance, reliability, and planning, linking back to noise, vibrations and ecology, it is clear to see the possibilities that an easy to operate and proven ‘small wind’ turbine can bring to the telecoms sector.
Small-scale wind has the power to transform the future of the telecoms industry, giving access to untapped areas and solutions. The work we have already done in this field showcases this. The time is now for people and businesses to see ‘small wind’ as commonplace as we now see solar. This would be hugely exciting.