Telecom operator Orange has revealed various steps it has taken to reduce its energy consumption across Europe.
Orange’s strategy is in line with the Council of Europe’s proposal for a voluntary reduction in electricity consumption between December 2022 and March 2023.
This is in addition to Orange’s strategy to improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact with the aim of becoming net zero carbon by 2040, the telecom operator said in a news statement.
Orange is working in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain to optimize energy consumption. Overall, IT and networks represent around 85 percent of the Group’s energy requirements, with the remaining 15 percent being concentrated on buildings, shops and vehicles.
Orange is working to deploy the latest generation of equipment, in particular 5G, which includes innovative energy-optimization features. Orange Group’s Green ITN program has led to savings in power usage over recent years including features optimisation in IT and network, and more efficient datacenters – the latest free cooling technologies have led to 30 percent lower electricity usage.
Orange has mobile network sharing agreements with operators in many of Orange’s European countries including Belgium, Poland and Spain. Such projects bring substantial savings in energy use for all partners, while optimizing the use of network equipment by avoiding duplication and reducing maintenance costs. For the period 2019 to 2022, the program has led to energy savings equivalent to 19 percent of total IT and network consumption in Europe.
Orange has also made a commitment to switch part of its network onto battery power during peak periods to reduce short-term stress on the national energy grid in France. Such operations would last around an hour and have no impact on network performance. By doing this, Orange will effectively remove 5-10 percent of its spot energy usage from the grid, saving up to 20MW or the equivalent of a medium-sized town.
Since 2018, Orange has conducted an overhaul of its energy sourcing to progressively increase the use of renewable energy into its portfolio, while managing costs. Several countries now benefit from long-term Power Purchase Agreement contracts that increase the proportion of energy originating from wind or solar-powered sources. Such contracts are already in place in France, Spain and Poland, covering close to 1,000 GWh/year of the Group’s energy needs.
In Spain, 100 percent of energy used by Orange now comes from renewable sources thanks to such a PPA. Excluding France, by 2025 at least 75 percent of the total energy used by Orange in Europe will come from renewable resources, in line with the Group’s #OrangeGoesGreen climate strategy.
Orange Group produces its own energy, using solar energy to power network equipment or complement energy requirements in its datacenters. Various projects are currently being implemented across Europe to use autonomous, clean energy to reduce dependence on national electricity grids.
For example, Orange Group’s towerco subsidiary, Totem, has over 600 towers in Spain equipped with solar panels. Each site produces up to 30 percent of its own energy requirements.
Orange Slovakia recently announced a nation-wide plan to accelerate the use of solar power on its mobile base stations: 180 sites have already been equipped and an additional 250 will be deployed in the coming months.
Orange Romania announced plans to equip 300 base stations, while other projects are currently being implemented in Moldova.
Reducing the impact of offices and retail Orange is also taking steps to reduce energy consumption in its shops and office buildings. Electricity used for heating has been cut dramatically by reducing the minimum ambient temperature to 19°C. In addition, in many offices, workspaces have been optimized as staff work more often from home.
“With a solid baseline in energy efficiency actions, we will reinforce our ambitions in reducing energy consumption while also continuing to provide top connectivity to our customers,” Marie-Noelle JegoLaveissiere, Deputy CEO in charge of Orange’s operational activities in Europe.