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Orange turns green in efforts to mitigate the energy crisis

Telco operator Orange has unveiled plans to help mitigate the energy crisis by reducing its energy consumption across Europe over the coming months.

The French operator revealed three key areas of focus for its latest green plans: energy efficiency in networks, sourcing green energy, and reducing the impact of offices and retail.

The telco giant is already working to optimise energy consumption in some of its European markets, such as Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

In Belgium, Poland and Spain, for example, the launch of mobile network sharing agreements are bringing energy savings to all partners by avoiding duplication and reducing maintenance costs.

The group’s Green ITN programme has also seen “considerable” savings in power usage. Free cooling technologies in its new data centres has led to a 30% reduction in electricity, and over a three-year period from 2019 to 2022, the programme has resulted in energy savings equivalent to 19% of total IT and network consumption in Europe.

Since 85% of the group’s energy requirements is concentrated on IT and networks, Orange said it is now working to deploy the latest generation of equipment, in particular 5G, which includes innovative features to optimise energy.

Orange has also pledged to switch part of its network over to battery power during busy periods to reduce short-term stress on the national energy grid in France. By doing this, the group said it will remove 5-10% of its spot energy usage from the grid, saving up to 20MW or the equivalent of a medium-sized town.

“We have a duty to minimise our impact on the planet. We are determined to continue to find creative ways to improve our energy consumption efficiency and encourage sobriety, while ensuring the resilience of our network and sites,” said Marie-Noelle Jégo-Laveissière, deputy CEO in charge of Orange’s operational activities in Europe.

In terms of sourcing green energy, Orange has signed up several countries including France, Spain and Poland to its Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contracts that increase the amount of energy extracted from solar-powered sources.

The contracts already in place cover close to 1,000 GWh/year of the group’s energy needs, and in Spain already, all of the energy used by Orange now comes from renewable sources.

Orange is now in the middle of launching projects across Europe to use autonomous, clean energy to reduce dependence on national electricity grids. Its towerco subsidiary Totem, for example, has over 600 towers in Spain equipped with solar panels, each producing up to 30% of its own energy requirements.

Across Europe, Orange has cut the minimum ambient temperature to 19 degrees in its offices and retail stores. It also made a European-wide commitment to switch off the lights in shop windows earlier – in France, for example, the lights in shop fronts are now switched off 30 minutes after closing time.

In Poland, Orange has developed a website that encourages its workers to share ideas on how it can better its energy efforts. The group has also developed similar operations in Moldova and France.

Tech giants across the board, including AWS, Amazon and IBM are ramping up efforts to be more energy conscious and help combat the energy crisis.