Skip to content

Iain Munro of Ryse Energy on how hybrid renewable energy can help the tower telecom industry

Iain Munro of Ryse Energy on how hybrid renewable energy can help the tower telecom industry

Iain Munro is the Strategy Director of Ryse Energy, a renewable energy company which provides innovative and proven small-wind technologies and full on/off-grid renewable energy generation system solutions. The company has  joined the Tower Automation Alliance to work in the ‘Greening the Network’ group to build a more sustainable future. In this interview he explains how hybrid renewable energy helps Towercos and the Telecom Industry. 

First of all, a warm welcome to the Tower Automation Alliance, Iain. Ryse Energy has joined this young but promising partnership. Can you introduce Ryse Energy and your innovative solution?

Thank you. We’re glad to be a part of this new community dedicated to solving some of the
most important challenges telco operators are facing today. Ryse Energy is a global renewable
energy technology company focusing on incorporating hybrid renewables, solar PV & small-scale wind turbines and energy storage into the cell site, to reduce operating costs &
greenhouse gas emissions without compromising energy resilience. We have over 4,000 installations to date across all seven continents, so there is not a climate or a challenge we haven’t faced.

What are the main differences, from a technical and financial perspective, between solar & wind energy solutions, especially for telecoms? What’s the approach for companies to choose one or the other?

That’s a good question. When it comes to incorporating renewable energy, some climates benefit more from one than the other, but the hybridization of the technologies creates a more balanced and optimized solution. This usually means the incorporation of small wind, as telco players who are exploring renewable energy will most likely be looking at solar PV and batteries. But our solutions offer so much more. Incorporating wind into a hybrid renewable energy system, suppose to solar PV and energy storage alone has a number of advantages which are evident and financially attractive: 

• Reduction of solar PV capacity. 

• Reduction of the area required for the solar PV panels and/or.

 • Reduction of the battery size required.

 • Extend the life of the batteries by working in shallower discharge cycles and providing charge at night. 

With proper sizing, and the right conditions this type of facility can reduce the use of diesel backup or the utilization of the grid up to 90-95%.

“Choosing hybrid renewables as your primary energy source is the financial and economic decision, not just a green one.”

You provide a hybrid model of renewable energy for towers. What’s your
experience with some of the key stakeholders you worked with in the telecom

The telecoms sector is at a crossroads, but with both paths leading to renewable energy

The fast-evolving pace of network technology, including global adoption of 4G and developed
nations rolling out 5G will need increased power requirements, these new technologies can
only be enabled by more power to the sites. In today’s societal and conscious consumer
environment, coupled with the international public pledges many MNOs and TowerCos have
made to go 100% renewable, this energy must be green.

Adding to this pressure, energy prices for both grid-connected and off-grid using diesel are
soaring. All creating a follow-on effect that the major players are now realizing renewables is
the only viable option for the future of telecoms. 

Finally on this point, renewables are not only the ‘green’ or ‘CSR’ or ‘environmentally-friendly’
solution. On-site renewable energy generation is cheaper than traditional grid and off-grid
solutions in the majority of countries across the global. Choosing hybrid renewables as your
primary energy source is the financial and economic decision, not just a green one.

You have projects across the world. In your experience, what geographies best
adapt to your hybrid model and which ones have the most potential for a faster

The hybrid model is applicable wherever there are sites with available wind and solar resource.
Wherever you see a diesel generator, our renewable technology can ‘green the network’ by
introducing clean and sustainable energy, if wind and solar resources are available. We are
currently deploying hybrid solutions in multiple countries across four continents today to
TowerCos, MNOs and ESCOs all looking to decarbonize and reduce energy costs.

How much of a financial decision is committing to sustainable energy compared
to being a key element for CSR programs? How tangible are the benefits of green
energy for telecoms?

The benefits of green energy for telecoms is always measured using financial parameters such
as savings and payback periods. If there is a strong business case supporting the introduction
of renewables into the energy mix of a cell site, then the all the other benefits such as clean
energy produced and CO2 emissions saved will follow suit. That said, we all now have a
responsibility to choose greener, more environmentally friendly systems so financial and
environmental impacts are both a part of the decision making process.

Let’s discuss tower automation…tons of efforts have been done on the network
side of the industry, but few for passive infrastructure and assets. How do you
assess the needs for towers to better understand their sites and turn them into
profitable assets, reducing CAPEX and OPEX?

It’s important to gather as much data as possible from a site and performing relevant analysis.
When we look at reducing the OPEX structure on a cell site, we sit with our clients and analyze
all the possible costs, obvious and hidden ones, to understand the “as is” situation and look for
quick wins.

We have internal energy resource analysis tools which give us accurate information on the site,
coupled with client data on current power use, we can then look to optimize the sites energy
use as much as possible.

You joining the alliance strengthens the Greening the Network working group
that’s going to be critical in the years to come as the road to
#ZeroEmissionTowers is gaining traction. How’s Ryse Energy helping the Tower
Automation Alliance further the discussion on the future of towers?

We are here to decarbonize and reduce costs to telco operators across the globe. Providing a
win-win-win for Ryse Energy, the telecoms industry, and the environment. We bring in the
“greening the network” element that is a necessary element for the industry and joining the
Alliance will enable us to collaborate and partner with other members to solve the greatest
challenges telecom site owners are facing today, by increasing on-site renewable energy
technology and build towards a greener network.

To wrap up…Can you provide a few closing remarks on why tower automation
and clean energy need to go hand in hand for the industry to evolve?

Our hybrid renewable energy systems, incorporating our innovative wind technology, solar PV
and battery storage, enable TowerCos, MNOs and ESCOs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
reduce operating costs, and increase reliability and resilience.
We hope that our contribution will prompt tower automation and clean energy across the
telecom industry.

Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success and welcome
to the Tower Automation Alliance.

More from our blog