Global telecommunications provider Huawei has teamed up with Kenyan mobile phone company, Safaricom, to give "green solutions" on powering its base transmission equipment.The wind-solar-diesel solution is based in a Masai community a short drive from the Kenyan capitol. Like many rural communities, the area is not covered by the national electricity supply grid, and many residents use wind turbines to power their homes.[John Barorot, Safaricom Chief Technical]:"When we build our network more in the rural areas the presence of KPLC (Kenya Power and Lighting Company Ltd) was too far away and was not viable to extend the power lines any more. That is how we came up now with this initiative to use solar, to use wind power especially where we have good wind speeds. The site also uses two diesel generators as a back up power supply.
[John Barorot, Safaricom Chief Technical Officer]: "On our more then 2,000 base stations country-wide, each one of them has a generator with diesel. In fact, we consume up to 700,000 diesel per month."Severe drought and low water levels in the dam that power the hydroelectric plants have increased the power supply’s inconsistency.
[John K Tanui, Huawei Technical Service Director]: "We provide products that can enhance reduction of use of power and in this case we had one solution which we provided to Safaricom."However, regular refueling and maintenance costs are high, and diesel generators produce high volumes of harmful gas that pollute the environment. After installing the wind turbines and solar panels, fuel consumption was down 95 percent. Fuel transport and regular maintenance costs have dropped by at least 90 percent.
The new green energy lets Safaricom look for more eco-friendly solutions and resolve the power bottleneck.