‘Nigeria, other West African countries’ investment in solar energy low’
. Renewable power to become a major energy source by 2050
. Telcos facing several challenges in their roadmap to net-zero
Renewable power is expected to become a major energy source by 2050, a report by Huawei has stated.
Renewable energy is derived from natural sources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed. Sunlight and wind, for example, are sources that are constantly being replenished. Renewable energy sources are plentiful and all around us.
The report, “Huawei Digital Power Introduction,” which noted that in South Africa, carbon neutral would be realised by 2050, estimated a peak value of 2025 with 16 per cent renewable energy. It said that in Nigeria, carbon neutrality would be realised by 2060 but GHG emissions would be reduced by 2050, while there is a 43 per cent renewable energy target by 2030. In Kenya, Huawei said carbon neutral will be realized in 2050, while there is currently 90 per cent renewable in the country.
Huawei noted in the report that there is huge interest in solar power utilities in Africa. It stressed that the continent’s solar energy resource is almost 40 per cent of the global total, but has only one per cent installed capacity of the globe.
The report claimed that Africa’s solar energy is estimated at 60, 000,000 TWh/year. In the African solar power market, Huawei claimed only two per cent of PV-related funds had been invested in the African market in the past 20 years.
While the world’s investment in solar power rose to $2.25 trillion and cumulatively $2.84 trillion as of 2020, the report said Africa has $55 billion and cumulatively $60 billion investment in the period under review. The breakdown put North Africa’s investment at $17.5 billion; West Africa at $3.9 billion; East Africa’s $9.7 billion; Central Africa at $1.3 billion and Souther Africa at $22.4 billion.
MEANWHILE, TelecomTv analysis has revealed that the biggest challenge on operators’ pathway to a net-zero future is the lack of clear methodology for their suppliers to report carbon emissions. This is according to analysts from telecoms consultant, STL Partners, who have stressed the need for telcos to collaborate much more if they are to tackle value chain hurdles.
During a webinar presentation, the company shared findings based on discussions it held with 40 telecom operators worldwide regarding their sustainability efforts. It discovered the main challenge to improved environmental sustainability is around data capture and methodology for Scope 3 emissions (indirect, produced within the value chain).
Principal Analyst at STL Partners, Amy Cameron, said: “That’s difficult because you’re depending on all of your partners and suppliers across your entire value chain to report – and many companies are not reporting this very well yet.”
“In fact, Scope 1 emissions (direct, made by the company’s facilities, fleet, etc) and Scope 2 emissions (indirect, covering the purchase of electricity for the company’s own use) were found to constitute around 20 per cent of telecoms operators’ carbon footprint, while emissions produced in the supply chain (Scope 3) serve as the biggest contributor to environmental pollution.”
According to the company, there is a need for telcos to express their sustainability demands when working with suppliers. “One key thing is having really strict stipulations on suppliers, making that part of the decision-making process and framework when it comes to selecting partners you would work with, instead of it just being around cost,” recommended Grace Donnelly, senior consultant and sustainability practice lead at STL Partners. Another option is for telcos to stipulate that 20 per cent to 30 per cent of a contract be based on whether the supplier can provide transparent reporting on their own emissions.
Cameron concurred, adding that there is a need for industry and regulatory collaboration on standardisation, otherwise the ability to capture and reduce Scope 3 emissions wouldn’t be possible.
The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN Alliance) and Rakuten Symphony have recently shared ideas for a methodology to assess the quality of sustainability of telco equipment and third-party activities.
Another significant challenge outlined by telcos who were surveyed by STL Partners relates to the acceleration of the circular economy, which is closely linked to Scope 3 and finding ways to reuse or recycle elements in the value chain.
Interestingly, operators were also found to lack clarity around how 5G and virtualisation will affect carbon emissions, despite numerous claims by analyst bodies and telco players that the next-generation mobile network is much more energy efficient than earlier generations.
Some telcos, STL stated, encounter difficulties with securing buy-in from key stakeholders when it comes to enhancing their sustainability credentials. Here, Cameron argued that environmental sustainability cannot be the responsibility solely of teams focused on corporate social responsibility (CSR) but needs involvement from every person and level within an organisation. On that note, she suggested that the bonus structure for employees should not just be about hitting financial, operational or customer engagement targets, but “should also be about hitting some sustainability targets.”