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IFC, GSMA Scale Up Green Power to Improve Environmental Impact of Mobile Industry

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The GSMA and World Bank division, the IFC have signed an agreement to increase the use of green power technologies at network sites in areas with limited or no grid power access.

The agreement is a part of the joint IFC-GSMA "Green Power for Mobile" program which, in partnership with the Netherlands' Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promotes the use of green power such as solar and wind at mobile network towers in remote, rural areas around the world.

As a result of the program, the total number of green-power sites worldwide has increased by 36 percent since 2009, up to nearly 12,600 sites today.

"The lack of power infrastructure and the availability of power are key challenges for mobile-network operators in expanding coverage into remote and rural areas," said Chris Locke, Managing Director, GSMA Development Fund. "Using renewable energy improves the economic viability of this expansion and allows the cycle of economic and social development through mobile communication to begin."

There are about 640,000 off-grid mobile-network sites located in developing countries and powered by diesel generators. Research has shown that 120,000 of these off-grid sites could adopt more environmentally friendly green-power solutions and technologies such as solar, wind, fuel cell, and deep-cycle batteries that would help reduce environmental impact and be more economically beneficial.

Under the agreement, IFC and GSMA aim to develop more than 10,000 green mobile-power sites over the next four years. The two organizations will work together to develop industry standards, facilitate technical training, conduct feasibility studies, and promote good business practices for green power in the mobile telecommunications sector, with a special focus on 10 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Additionally, IFC will provide a $821,000 grant and advisory services on clean energy and sustainable private sector financing.

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Tags: gsma  ifc  solar power