The Telstra CEO Andy Penn said the company is too big to go off the grid in an effort to use 100% renewable energy, which means it has to invest in returning renewable energy to the grid to achieve its goal.
Australia’s largest telecommunications company has towers, exchanges, data centers and a network of 50,000 km of fiber running across the country. It accounts for about 1% of all energy production in Australia and is the 14th largest consumer of electricity in Australia.
The company has been carbon-neutral since last year, but aims to reach 100% of the equivalent of renewable energy production in 2025 – in part by financing renewable energy to be pumped back into the same network that Telstra uses to power your network across the country.
“On a practical level, we couldn’t replicate the distribution infrastructure of Australia’s current energy infrastructure – it wouldn’t make sense,” Penn said. “It’s much more pragmatic for us, in fact … to play a role in increasing the share of renewable energy going back into the grid. And then we all benefit. “
On Friday, the company announced an agreement with Global Power Generation to provide $ 120 million worth of energy from the Crookwell 3 wind farm in Goulburn, New South Wales, which is due to go online in 2023. Penn said the output would be more than half of what Telstra uses in Australia – the equivalent of the power used by more than 150,000 homes.
Greenpeace report published on Friday ranked Telstra first in Australian telecommunications and IT companies in terms of its commitment to 100% renewable energy, noting that the company is also the highest energy consumer to date, with 1.4 GWh per year. Greenpeace said Telstra’s goal was “a significant commitment to help reduce emissions.”
A challenge for telecommunications companies in Australia is the ever-increasing demand in their networks, as more and more data is consumed by phones, laptops, Smart TVs and an increasing number of Internet-connected devices in homes and offices. Penn said the amount of data on Telstra’s mobile network is increasing by 20% to 30% per year. The move to 5G for its mobile network brings some energy efficiency, Penn said.
“If I can replace a 3G or 4G radio site with a 5G radio site, it will process more transmission and more data more efficiently, leading to more efficient use of electricity and ultimately, hopefully, also a reduction [in energy use]. “
A software-defined network in which a telecommunications company can increase network capacity as required by software rather than hardware – such as radios and routers, as has historically been the case – means that Telstra can be more efficient in using energy as the grid requires it, Penn said.
“In fact, we can manage network traffic flows much more efficiently, so if we notice that demand is increasing here, we can increase capacity there, and then generate capacity in different parts much more dynamically than it was in the story. ”
As prime minister, Scott Morrison turned to the G7 reluctantly specific targets to reach zero by 2050, Penn will not try to see if the government or other businesses need to strengthen their own goals.
“I’m the person who likes to tell others less about what they need to do and focus more on what we need to do,” he said. “I prefer to lead by example and take responsibility and encourage others to be more ambitious by being more ambitious, because I think we end up liking a lot of things in life, climate change and reducing carbon emissions … no we can put everything one party.
“You can’t put it at the feet of the government, you can’t put everything at the feet of individuals, you can’t put everything at the feet of companies. We all have a role to play, and Telstra is a very big organization, so I think we can play a role. “