Japanese company plans green-energy cellphone masts

Posted by Chris Nova

Some people may not be familiar with Japan's largest mobile phone operator, NTT DoCoMo. But their efforts to generate renewable energy are certainly worthy of attention.

According to AFP, NTT DoCoMo has plans to begin powering its cellphone tower network with earthy energies such as solar, wind or biomass.
    
This could allow the company to feed excess electricity back into the grid one day. It would also function as a protection against power grid outages caused by natural disasters like the March 11 quake and tsunami.
    
NTT DoCoMo has 90,000 cellphone relay locations, and they will initiate the plan by constructing 10 renewable energy facilities in fiscal year 2012 to add-on to the conventional electricity supply, media reports said.
    
NTT DoCoMo spokesman Daisuke Sakuma told AFP that "we are planning 'green transmission stations,' which would be run on eco-energy such as bio-fuel cells, wind or solar power."
    
"We have not decided details yet, including how many stations would be operated that way," he said, adding that the company might one day sell surplus energy, though for now its goal is to meet its own energy requirements.
    
The move could protect the system against widespread blackouts, Sakuma said. The March 11 natural disaster took out power lines and mobile phone transmissions in large parts of the Japan’s northeast region.
    
"In the wake of a major earthquake, a power outage of many hours would disrupt our service... Our plan is also meant to be an anti-quake measure, in addition to the environmental concerns."

Quick Thoughts
    
This is a great idea, it’s just a shame that it took a horrible natural and nuclear disaster before someone took a viable green energy backup system seriously. It also makes one wonder why more U.S companies don’t try something like this. The biggest environmental concerns are usually voiced from America and American companies
    
It’s kind of a shock to realize that the big mobile phone companies in America haven’t rolled out an environmental/emergency plan like this. It makes one question the AT&T and T-Mobile merger a little bit doesn’t it?

AT&T claims it cares only about the customer, yet they don't have a system like this in play yet. Will things change to mirror NTT DoCoMo's awesome green backup system after their merger of giants? Not likely.