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Ericsson unveils new solution for intelligent use of energy in network sites

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Much of society runs on networks. This makes it vital to ensure that networks are efficiently powered while using existing energy infrastructure. The new Site Energy Orchestration solution from Ericsson acts as an intelligent bridge between the radio access network (RAN) and power grids, optimizing operations to boost energy cost savings, reduce carbon footprint and open new revenue streams. 

Photo of a power line at night with a blue sky to symbolize energy-smart connected power grid.

Recent energy crises including those caused by extreme weather have shone the spotlight on the need to be smarter and more intentional about energy grids and how telecom networks are powered. This involves continuous effort to minimize energy consumption and the use of stored energy at network sites including renewables, which requires a transition toward an intelligent energy setup and an integrated approach to energy management.

An increase in the use of electric-powered vehicles, scooters and more is also stepping up demand  on the power grid. The ongoing transition to renewable energy sources, which vary in output, makes it more important to match power generation with consumption.

Resilience aside, it takes a lot of energy to power networks, and powering them is costly. The 2024 GSMA report shows that passive infrastructure alone accounts for 29 percent of the global telecom total energy consumed. The same study shows communications service providers (CSPs) still spend around 10–25 percent of operational expenditure (OPEX) on energy, with about 80 percent consumed by the RAN.

Martin Högberg, Head of Product Line Site, Business Area Networks, at Ericsson, says: “A resilient energy structure keeps us safe and connected to both power and each other. But we’re going beyond this goal – we are taking the next step in ‘breaking the energy curve’ by not only empowering service providers to lower their power bills and reduce carbon emissions but also open new revenue streams by participating in the energy trading market. The steep growth we see in mobile networks using lithium batteries builds the foundation.”

“Ericsson’s Site Energy Orchestration is designed to support our customers in addressing the new challenges that come with the transformation in energy generation and consumption,” adds Högberg. “This latest software feature is another significant step alongside our customers to help them power their networks in a smarter way without having to worry about any impact on service level agreements or performance.”

What makes this new solution unique

The Site Energy Orchestration solution uses machine learning and AI-powered RAN applications (rApps), RAN Data and external data interfacing. The solution enables service providers to cluster and orchestrate the network sites as a virtual power plant among other applications, allowing CSPs to participate in various utility plans in different markets.

This solution intelligently optimizes cell sites’ daily energy consumption patterns to avoid peak charges in bills, channeling energy only when and where needed. This optimizes operations, which lowers costs including energy bills, and potentially gaining future revenue from new avenues such as energy trading exchange markets.

Ericsson OPEX features in commercial operation show significant reductions in energy bills through deploying methods like peak shaving, load-shifting features and using hybrid energy with onsite renewables and lithium batteries.

Søren Elsborg, Vice President, Mobile Innovation, at TDC NET, says: “At TDC NET we see great value in using our state-of-the-art mobile network for power balancing to support the green transition. We welcome Ericsson’s efforts on this front and look forward to their new Site Energy Orchestration solution to support us in reducing energy costs and carbon footprint.”

Robert Kaptein, Principal Network Deployment, Odido, says: “Odido and Ericsson are working closely together in the area of site solutions and site energy management to make our network smarter and more sustainable. We are looking forward to the introduction of the Ericsson Site Energy Orchestration solution that enables network level orchestration to reduce energy costs as well as support the energy transition and opening use cases leveraging the energy stored in our network sites.”

To top it off, the use of Ericsson Site Energy Orchestration can help industry players inch towards their Net Zero goals by minimizing carbon footprint. This is an indirect impact that stems from energy balancing in the power grids for network operations, avoiding the need to use reserve generation plants that are fuel-based.

Ericsson has a full portfolio of site power and energy storage solutions that includes RAN Ericsson Network Manager (ENM) integration to the sites, as well as an extensive field presence. To date, it has close to 150,000 smart enclosures located in different markets across the world.

Read more about the Ericsson Site Energy Orchestration solution here.


Ericsson Site Energy Orchestration solution features:

On the revenue stream side: Frequency Balancing – the frequency containment reserve feature involves the clustering of many cell sites and their energy storage to disconnect or connect to power grids intermittently to participate in utility plans or bidding processes.

On the OPEX (energy cost) reduction side: Demand Response – the load shift and peak shaving features cluster many cell sites and their energy storage to disconnect or connect to power grids in response to differential energy tariffs or time-of-use (ToU) prices.