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BT Nears 2020 Target of Running on 100% Renewable Energy Globally

Thursday, November 29th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 1,422
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Telecoms giant BT Group has today signed two new energy deals, primarily on behalf of sibling mobile operator EE, which will mean that 96% of their global operations are now powered by renewable electricity (up from 81% last year).

The new deals effectively reduce BT’s carbon emissions by 100,000 tonnes per year (roughly akin to taking 40,000 petrol cars off UK roads) and mean that EE alone is now powered by 100% certified renewable sources (e.g. wind farms and solar plants). But overall the entire group is still 4% shy of their 2020 target for 100% renewable energy (globally), at least for now.

At the same time the operator has been quick to remind us of its pledge to become a “net zero carbon emission business” by 2045 and in keeping with that they’ve already set a target to reduce emissions by 87% come 2030. At this point it’s worth remembering that BT, as the largest national telecoms and broadband company, buys roughly 1% of the electricity generated in the UK.

Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact & Sustainability Officer, said:

“The IPCC report showed the urgency of the task we all face to tackle climate change. We recently announced our pledge to become a net zero carbon emission business by 2045, and today’s renewable energy deals mark another important step in reaching our ambitious sustainability goals. We hope that by leading by example we can inspire others to take action and drive the transition to a low carbon economy.”

Last year, BT signed a separate agreement with nPower to supply the rest of EE’s operations, including over 600 retail locations across the UK, with 680GWh of renewable electricity. However it’s important not to forget that other operators, such as Virgin Media and Sky (Sky Broadband), are also highly regarded in terms of their commitment to and adoption of green energy.

UPDATE 29th Nov 2018:

This was originally posted yesterday but BT gave us the wrong embargo date, hence why it vanished and re-appeared today.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar Joe

    The switch off of copper will be a big free win for energy savings.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      Will it?. I assume as providers replace equipment they will look at the efficiency including BT’s PSTN replacement. But real comparison is hard to determine as the PSTN will look a lot different and including its capacity. If we are simply considering the copper line then surely the power drawn by my corded phone will not be that much different from plugging it into a router or VoIP add-on. If those requiring telephony alone migrate onto VoIP that results in additional powered CPE device 24/7. So that sounds like a net increase.
      I can see a reduction eventually when BT decommission FTTC but that will not happen for many years and will be more than off-set by the Altnets using remote powered cabinet equipment for FTTP. The overall upward trend is the issue. Apparently if the Internet was a country it is estimated it would be 5th in energy consumption.

    • Avatar Joe

      I’m sure you appreciate that fibre doesn’t need the same power at rest or in usage as copper to transmit a signal. Fib can to a large extent be unpowered from end to end. Xchanges/street cabinets/pods/batterybackup and even air blown ducts consume huge amounts of power that are largely unneeded with fttp/b etc…(

      Yes modems and domestic battery backup will use power but far less.

    • Avatar Jon

      who cares ive got 330meg through my existing copper via G.Fast and im well happy with that

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      @joe. Found some research in 2011 into power consumption of access network technologies. It shows DSL (8 watts per user) marginally more than PON (7 watts per user). However as speed increases on PON above 150Mbps it increases with PON estimated rise to around 12-13 watts per user for 1Gbps. (IEEE Network • March/April 2011). Obviously things have changed equipment wise since 2011 however as demand increases the power consumption estimated to only go one way.

  2. Avatar NE555

    When one company buys renewable energy from a supplier, that generates Renewable Obligation Certificates which can be sold onto another supplier. The other supplier then needs to buy *less* renewable energy to meet its obligations.

    This means that even if BT is buying a shedload of renewable energy, that doesn’t (in the short term at least) reduce the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted. They just get the bragging rights.

    On top of this: only about 1/6th of the UK total energy consumption is electricity. So we still need to wait until BT powers their vehicles and heats their buildings by renewable energy as well.

  3. Avatar Jazzy

    How does this work, so they have a special pipeline to renewables at every telephone exchange and BT building

    Nope, it’s just hot air as there’s no proof that this money pays for renewables. It’s an offset against global guilt

    • Avatar 125us

      The method for working this out is well established. For every unit consumed a unit is purchased from a renewable supplier.

  4. Avatar joseph

    “Running on 100% Renewable Energy”

    Minus the diesel and petrol used in the vans and plant to actually install any infrastructure… Meanwhile in the land of the non-fairys.

  5. Avatar Rob

    They’re connected to the national grid which is 80 odd % powered by non-renewables. And all these renewable sources need a storage source.

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