Miguel Calderón
Vice President Of Regulatory Affairs And Institutional Relations
Telefónica Movistar
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View from the Top

When Telecoms Meet Renewables

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 14:19

Q: Which characteristics define Telefónica as an exemplary off-taker in the telecoms industry?
A: Telecommunications is a high-consuming energy industry. In response, we have designed a responsible energy consumption plan based on three central strategies. This plan is not only implemented within the company’s operations, but extends to our clients as well. The first strategy relies on measurement. If you do not measure, you cannot identify the impact of your activities or set goals. Telefónica is present in 20 countries. In Mexico, we have 11,000 radio bases that generate signals, which is why measurement is a very important topic. We use innovative technologies, such as IoT and AI, to measure our energy consumption. Next, we establish methods to generate energy savings through reasonable consumption. After measuring and implementing energy management practices, we look for renewable energy options to supply the company’s energy needs.
Q: How will Telefónica supply 50 percent of its energy needs through renewable generation by 2020?
A: To date, Telefónica consumes 330,000GW. In order for our clients to communicate using cellphones, cellular base stations are needed. Seventy-six percent of the company’s total energy consumption comes from those sites, of which there are 11,867 facilities. Another 19 percent is generated from our communication centrals, which permit the call connection and related services like Internet. The remaining 6 percent is consumed by our offices and retail stores.
Telefónica generates 40 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources. The main strategy has focused on addressing our low-tension consumption first, by powering it with renewables. We are launching another project that will convert medium tension and this will represent a 36 percent additional capacity toward meeting our goals. The energy that powers our operations comes from Kaixo Solar, a 65MW solar park located in Chihuahua. The project was constructed in collaboration with Bas Corporation and Dominion and it represented a total investment of US$100 million. Telefónica consumes 70 percent of the power generated by this power plant. The message here is that the main motivation behind working with renewables was to be coherent with our long-term vision to improve people’s lives, looking for our most sustainable operation, from all points of view. But this transition has translated to monetary savings as well.
Q: What is the role of IoT and AI in the company’s energy management segment?
A: IoT allows us to distribute millions of mobile devices and connect them to a network. All these devices are generating information that leads to AI-based decision-making. IoT can be implemented in various applications, such as our Smart Energy services. This helps our clients reduce their consumption at a 30 percent rate. If the same technology is applied to fuel consumption, our study cases show a 15 percent reduction in the energy used within our logistics operations. In the specific case of Smart Energy, we insert sensors to measure the energy consumption in our clients' devices. With this central control system, our clients can see in real time how much energy its being consumed per device. For instance, it is not beneficial to have air conditioning systems working at the same intensity all the time. With our system, the decision related to air conditioning can be made manually or through an AI system that will maximize performance and results.
Q: What main goals does the company hope to achieve by the end of 2019?
A: We have changed a huge portion of our low-tension consumption to renewable energy generation. The idea is to make a similar move with medium tension. We are looking for an ally to add 36 percent renewable capacity to the company’s energy mix through this strategy. This is a priority goal for 2019. We believe in partnerships because in this globalized world, there is always someone that can do something better. We look for the best companies in each segment but also those that share Telefonica’s values.