Vodafone goes green to celebrate 100% renewable electricity

Vodafone goes green to celebrate 100% renewable electricity

23 June 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Vodafone says it has achieved a promise made in July 2020 that its European networks will be 100% powered from renewable sources by next week.

The company gave the promise 11 months ago that European networks will be powered by 100% renewable electricity no later than July 2021.

This morning group CEO Nick Read said: “From 1 July 2021, Vodafone’s customers across Europe can be reassured that the connectivity they use is entirely powered by electricity from renewable sources.”

Vodafone said it has invested €65 million during the last year in energy efficiency and on-site renewable projects, leading to annual energy savings of 135GWh.

The company will celebrate the milestone across Europe and raise awareness of its green network with a consumer campaign that will include its logo turning green across key digital and social channels in 12 markets.

When it made its promise last year, the company brought forward its plan to purchase 100% renewable electricity in Europe to July 2021 from its previous target of 2025. Now, it says, it is committed to achieving the same target in Africa by 2025.

Read said: “This is a major milestone towards our goal of reducing our own global carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, helping our customers reduce their own environmental footprint and continuing to build an inclusive and sustainable digital society in all of our markets.”

In the last financial year Vodafone bought 96% of its total energy in the form of purchased electricity. Now, it says, 100% of Vodafone’s purchased electricity in Europe is from renewable generation sources — including where Vodafone is a tenant on other landlord’s sites.

In March Vodafone Spain said it has reached its goal of being powered by 100% renewable electricity, following an agreement signed with Spanish energy company Iberdrola.

Vodafone is not the first operator to go green in this way. In February Colt Data Centre Services announced that its operations across the UK and Europe were already fully powered by 100% renewable power.

The division said it has also committed to providing green power to its parent company and its customers using data centres in the region, in an effort to help them reduce their own carbon emissions.

Vodafone said that during the past year, it has reduced its total greenhouse gas emissions by 30% year on year, to 1.37 million tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

This target was helped by the group’s focus on energy efficiency and an increase in the proportion of renewable electricity purchased in Europe from 33% in FY20 to 80% in FY21.

Vodafone’s achievement ties in with that of the wider economy. A week ago a spell of cold, cloudy weather ended a period of almost 68 days when the UK used no coal at all for its electricity — though gas, another fossil fuel, provided 32% of electricity, with nuclear delivering 21% and wind 16%.

Vodafone said energy use has remained broadly flat during the last year, despite a 47% year-on-year increase in mobile data traffic over the same period from 7,983PB in the 2020 financial year to 11,714PB in the year that has just ended. “This is due to increased use of more energy efficient mobile technology and analytics, including massive multiple-input multiple-output (M-MIMO) technology that is approximately 70% more efficient than 4G.