Tags Posts tagged with "emerging markets"

emerging markets

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More than 4 billion people are not connected to the internet today, representing a huge opportunity for both development and business. Bridging the ‘digital divide’ for these un-networked billions requires affordable and reliable access to electricity. Power is a crucial element at all stages of providing internet access: from running backhaul services to the core of the network and base stations to powering the devices that consumers use to get online. Yet, across much of the developing world, reliable electricity remains expensive and hard to get.

Achieving universal access to the internet will require expanding access to affordable and reliable electricity, especially for people living in the remote areas in emerging economies, finds a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in collaboration with Facebook.

The report Powering Last-Mile Connectivity outlines some of the challenges the developing world faces in giving more people access to the grid and the implications for the mobile industry if billions of people continue to lack that access.

Five key insights from the study are:

  1. Bridging the ‘digital divide’ for the four billion people without internet access, especially those in remote areas in emerging economies, requires affordable and reliable access to electricity.
  2. Electricity access is key for both provision and consumption of connectivity services. Power is needed across the value chain, from backhaul to access networks, to the devices that people use to get online.
  3. Globally, mobile network operators and cellular tower operators spend $3.8 billion on diesel fuel for remote sites annually. These costs make up a significant component of the operating budget.
  4. Solar and battery storage are now cheap enough to play a key role in expanding internet access.
  5. Partnerships between the telecommunications industry and the energy sector will enable both sectors to scale more rapidly towards universal access.

Powering the consumers of new connectivity

Without access to electricity in the home, connecting to internet services is a significant challenge, primarily due to the difficulty and cost of device charging. Even though people might live in communities covered by 3G networks, their smartphone use will be limited if they lack electricity at home. Off-grid consumers travel up to 15 km per week to charge their phones at small kiosks. Depending on the location, kiosk charging can constitute over a third of the total cost ($2-7 per month) of owning an internet-capable device, and a significant portion of household income. Such conditions make daily charging prohibitive and curb smartphone ownership and use.

Small-scale PV and storage have started to gain traction as primary energy sources for remote infrastructure and communities, particularly when innovative financing structures bring them to market. The critical components for such systems are rapidly becoming cheaper. Energy access companies are using these technologies to power connectivity with various business models, from small portable solar kits for individual households to village-scale micro-grids that can power local businesses and cellular infrastructure.

Powering connectivity infrastructure

Expanding a cellular network typically requires the construction of new towers for the base stations that connect mobile phones to the wider network. However, in remote areas, towers need expensive power and generate limited revenue due to low population density. A combination of cheaper, distributed solar-powered energy for conventional cellular infrastructure, and smaller, more efficient base stations designed to plug coverage gaps in the main network could reach more people at lower cost.

More than a million cellular towers in developing countries are off-grid or have at best extremely unreliable grid supply. These towers typically rely on diesel generators for primary power during large parts of the day to avoid interruptions to the mobile network.

Composed of a mix of solar, diesel generator, and batteries, hybrid power systems can save MNOs or tower operators up to 54% of the energy cost for an off-grid tower that a conventional diesel generator would incur.

Opportunities for partnerships abound

A combination of technological advances and innovative business models now provide alternative approaches to powering connectivity at the ‘last mile’. There are plenty of opportunities for both large companies and start-ups to make the most of them. Partnerships between telcos, energy companies and start-ups on innovative business models, alternative communication infrastructure and early stage venture capital can drive energy and network connectivity for billions of people.

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It has opened a sales office in Mainz and is currently taking part in Husum Wind 2015, the German trade fair for the wind power industry.

Acciona Windpower, an Acciona Group subsidiary that designs and manufactures wind turbines, has opened a sales office in Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany) as a first step towards introducing its products into one of the main European wind power markets.

Another example of Acciona Windpower’s interest in the German market is its presence, with its own stand, in the Husum Wind 2015 fair, held in the German town of the same name from 15-18 December.

The company’s sales office in Germany joins twelve others worldwide and will be the fifth in Europe, where it already has offices in Spain, Italy, Poland and Turkey, and in other continents in the USA, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, China, India and South Africa.

STAND-HUSUM

The AW3000, a 3-MW rated power machine, is a robust and reliable turbine that optimizes the power generated to reduce the cost of energy throughout its working life. It is achieving notable success in emerging markets such as Brazil, where its sales have exceeded 1,100 MW, together with Mexico, South Africa, Chile, Turkey and Poland, plus sales in mature markets such as the USA, Canada and Spain, where the company has its headquarters.

Designed as an evolution of the AW1500 platform, the AW3000 has configurations adapted to all kinds of winds. It is available with four rotor diameters (100 m, 116 m, 125 m and 132 m) and six tower heights, either in steel (84 m, 87.5 m y 92 m) or concrete (100 m, 120 m y 137.5 m).

Among the turbine’s competitive advantages, we would highlight the mounting on a double bearing on the slow speed shaft (a feature that gives it great robustness), generation at medium voltage (12 kV), which enables savings of up to 50% in energy capture infrastructure, an average availability of over 98% and a very low incident rate in the main components.

Acciona Windpower has nacelle manufacturing plants in Spain, the USA and Brazil, plus facilities to produce blades in Spain and concrete towers in a number of countries close to projects currently being constructed.

COMEVAL