Vodafone has commissioned the UK’s first wind and solar powered mobile phone mast in Pembrokeshire, Wales today. The mast will provide 4G coverage to the community of Eglwyswrw.
The purpose-built mast, which potentially removes the need for a connection to the national power grid, could provide connectivity to ‘non-spots’ in the UK’s most remote and inaccessible locations, helping the industry reach 95% of UK landmass coverage by 2025. This will also help Vodafone reduce its carbon emissions and support its goal of achieving net zero operations in the UK by 2027.
The “self-powered” mast incorporates a unique Crossflow Energy wind turbine that can generate power even in light winds. The mast can be installed without the need to dig trenches and lay electrical cables, making it quicker and easier to install and reducing the impact on the local environment.
It is also extremely quiet, making it viable for sensitive sites such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It can also be ‘filtered’ as a solid object by radar, birds and bats, so it is easily avoided, making it less harmful to wildlife.
The trial, in partnership with wind technology specialists Cross-Flow Energy and mobile infrastructure partner Cornerstone, is located at Home Farm in the village of Eglwyswrw. It will run for two years and the data gathered will help Vodafone optimize the technology and determine which sites are best suited for ‘self-powered’ masts.
Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer and Development Director, Vodafone, said: “Connectivity is vital for everyone, wherever you live. This self-powered mobile phone mast, with on-site battery storage, could help us connect places that were previously inaccessible. It will also help us reduce carbon emissions and minimize our impact on local environments. »
“If this trial is successful, we would like to deploy more ‘self-powered’ masts, focusing on areas with little or no coverage.”
Martin Barnes, CEO of Crossflow Energy, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with Vodafone for this UK first. Until now, the use of “small wind turbines” in the race to net zero has been limited due to performance, reliability and planning issues such as noise, vibration and damage to ecology. . Our unique wind turbine design meets all of these challenges head-on. We believe that one day its use could be as widespread and common as solar panels.
Rhys Phillip, Chairman and CEO of Cornerstone, said: “As the UK’s leader in towers, we are proud to be involved in this historic project, driving innovation to create scalable and sustainable connectivity solutions. We look forward to our continued collaboration in our journey towards environmentally friendly site designs.
Vodafone has pledged to achieve net zero operations in the UK by 2027. Its move to 100% renewable electricity has already had a significant impact and has reduced carbon emissions from its UK operations by 55% compared to the previous year. He recently signed a 10 year electricity contract with three new solar farms in Lincolnshire, Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire, securing their development and bringing an additional supply of renewable energy to the UK grid.