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CBC set to provide alternative energy solution for telcos, others

By Guardian Nigeria
22 December 2009   |   10:00 pm
THE CBC Energy, a subsidiary of CBC Emea with it headquarters in Nigeria, is partnering with PowerOasis, the leading provider of turnkey power solutions for mobile base stations that are either off-grid or connected to unreliable grids to cause a revolution in the Nigerian market.  CBC Energy hopes to become a major energy development company and an integrated services provider using cutting edge technologies to produce, process, manage and distribute clean energy from natural sources in a way that is safe and environmentally acceptable for the purpose of transportation, heating and power generation.

According to Kunle Oderinu, managing director of CBC Energy, in line with the company’s objectives of partnering with market leaders, CBC Energy and PowerOasis of the United Kingdom are set to offer its collaborative relationship for the deployment of integrated controller systems for alternative energy solutions (solar, wind with optional backup generators) to power GSM and WiMax base stations, as an energy efficient solution that reduces recurrent operational expenditure (Opex) without any loss in broadcast or transmission capacity or quality.


“We are bringing renewable energy to power base stations for the Nigerian telcos that currently rely mostly on diesel to power their generators,” Oderinu said.

“Our power solutions are designed to reduce the overall cost outlay for the running of the base stations by the Nigerian telcos.”

According to him, “the same volume of diesel used per day in the running of generators to power the base stations will be used for a much longer period, like three days for instance, with equal attendant savings on maintenance and support services for the generating sets.

The PowerOasis solutions include sensors that help customers to detect adulterated diesel to prevent their generators from being easily damaged. “With the PowerOasis solution, telecommunication operators can now profitably expand their networks to rural areas and serve the remotest parts of the country,” Oderinu said.

“This will invariably boost easy integration of the rural populace into the mainstream of telecom services in the country, a development that ensures that farmers in the villages have access to communications and take their agricultural proceeds to areas where they can be sold at reasonable prices.”

He said that the solution could also generate excess capacity which could be used as part of the telecommunication organisation’s corporate social responsibility to provide lighting for schools, power community water pump and streets lights to improve the quality of live in the remote rural areas.

This technology is also useful for other public and private organisations like eateries, banks and other businesses that depend heavily on generators to power their operations.

Rhett Ryder, vice president, sales and alliances, PowerOasis commented: “There will be more than 50,000 base stations in the country by the end of 2010. Most of these base stations are likely to be powered by high opex diesel generators. Consistent with our partner-centric business model, we are pleased to partner with CBC Energy to help its customers reduce opex and increase power availability using our next generation power controllers and remote monitoring systems.

One of the products, PowerOasis Controller manages all aspects of renewable energy generation, storage and load management.

Designed from the ground up to support off-grid mobile base stations or those connected to an unreliable grid, it incorporates a number of mobile telecommunications specific features such as separate BTS and backhaul power supplies and configurable alarming/monitoring capabilities to the OMC via the BTS.

In Africa, there are over 150,000 base stations with at least one, and often two, diesel generators providing power and this figure is expected to increase by 50 per cent over the next four years.

Although renewable power installations will accelerate during the same period, both to supplement diesel power and to provide autonomous renewable power solutions, diesel consumption and generator management will continue to present significant operational expenditure (opex) challenges to mobile network operators.

Ryder said that most diesel generators installed at base station sites were typically running at inefficient 20 to 30 per cent loads, which resulted in generator damage and increased servicing costs. “By intelligently integrating the generator with a battery bank, PowerOasis Controller (D) is able to run the generator for shorter periods at recommended loads in order to charge the battery, which in turn powers the telecoms loads,” he said.

“The benefit is reduced wear and tear, increased generator lifetime and less frequent service intervals. Furthermore, diesel consumption can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent, leading to further opex savings.

As the mobile telephone network is set to expand dramatically in the next two years with over two billion new subscribers placing huge demands on network operators. It is predicted that 90 per cent of these new subscribers would be in emerging markets which means that 1.5 – 2 million new base stations would be needed to meet demand and more than half of them in off-grid locations.

Ryder said that PowerOasis Manager had been conceived and designed to meet this growing need and to fulfill the requirements of mobile phone network operators who need to maximise control of opex.

“PowerOasis Manager reduces site visits by allowing operators to remotely manage network power equipment and respond to any issues before they impact operational efficiency,” he said.