Tower Power: Improving Air Quality and Electricity
Access in India
GLOBE-Net, September 25, 2012 -
Vancouver based Westport Innovations Inc. (TSX:WPT) ( NASDAQ:WPRT),
a global leader in natural gas engines, is bringing its expertise
to help improve air quality and access to electricity in
rural India, through a Commitment to Action announced at the
2012 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting closing
Westport and its partners' Commitment to Action aims to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions from mobile phone tower generators by using natural
gas, while also providing residual power to nearby villages that
are currently off the grid.
India's electric grid is challenged by a growing number of
mobile phone towers, and many are powered totally or in part by
There are close to 400,000 off-grid
mobile phone towers in India which use about two billion litres of
fuel annually. This releases 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide
(CO2), making these towers the second largest source of greenhouse
gas emissions in the country.
"By 2015, there will be close to a billion mobile phone users
in India, so there's an urgent need for cleaner energy sources
to power the industry," said Nicholas Sonntag, Westport
Executive Vice President of Corporate Development & New
"Westport has an opportunity to apply its expertise in natural
gas transportation technology to find solutions for telecom and
The CGI Commitment to Action, "Tower Power: Helping Rural
Communities Establish Clean Energy Solutions," aims to identify and
develop a natural gas fuel supply, engine technology, and power
distribution that will reduce emissions, and create a consistent
and reliable power supply to the phone towers.
Another critical benefit is the ability to direct residual power
to local communities for other needs. Project partners include
non-profits Development Alternatives, Technology and Action for
Rural Advancement (TARA), along with regional power producers and
If the project is successful, this solution could be applied in
other jurisdictions that face similar challenges.
Over the next three years, the team will pilot this project on
five sites by developing technology, researching gaseous fuel
options, creating a fuel supply, and determining how best to
distribute the power generated.
This project supports the goal of reducing the diesel dependence
of mobile phone towers, and cutting carbon emissions by operating
at least half of all rural towers, and 20 percent of urban towers,
on non-diesel power sources by 2015.
- The Indian Telecom Market is currently growing by 10 million
customers per month.
- In 2010, 64.5 percent of India had electricity; 93.1
percent of the urban population had access, and 52.5 percent of the
rural population had access.
- In 2011, there were over 390,000 telecom towers in India.
There are expected to be 500,000 towers by 2015, and one billion
cell phone users.
- Mobile phone towers in India consume approximately 2
billion litres of diesel fuel annually and release more than 6.5
million tonnes of CO2
- Of the existing 390,000 towers, 82 percent are connected to the
grid and 18 percent are off-grid. Out of the total on-grid, only
169,000 have reliable connections.
About Westport Innovations
Westport Innovations Inc. is a global supplier of proprietary
solutions that allow engines to operate on clean-burning fuels such
as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG),
hydrogen, and renewable natural gas (RNG) fuels such as landfill
gas that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global
leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's
most pressing challenges. To date CGI members have made more than
2,100 commitments in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and
implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on
collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United
States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together
undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges
in their community or around the world.