Telenor is a company well-known for taking care about corporate social responsibility and the most recent of of numerous events of this kind was held on 16th June when a hybrid base station was opened at a ceremony in Plocice, the municipality of Kovin. The equipment for telecommunication used at this station is powered by solar and wind energy and is the first of its kind in Serbia. We discussed this and other company’s activities related to the protection of the environment with Ivana Vranjican, Environmental manager in Telenor.
- This is the first hybrid base station and that is very crucial to us. We had an innovative approach and reached a solution that had not been seen in Serbia up to that moment. For that reason we named it pilot project and actually we are speaking of a pioneer project.
You refer to this hybrid base station as the first of many green investments of Telenor in the field of powering the network for telecommunication. How much is it worth and what other projects can we expect?
- This investment is around 30 per cent higher than the investment needed for the construction of a standard base station. At the moment we are at the stage of testing it, which should take a year in order to obtain visible results. We have to check its functioning in various weather conditions. We already have the first results when it comes to its way of functioning and we can say that in these weather conditions (the beginning of July) it functions entirely without the electrical power. In the following period we will be working a great deal on changing the elements of our already existing base stations – we will replace them with the new ones that are more efficient in terms of energy.
How does a hybrid base station work, technologically speaking? Are there any differences in terms of quality of the signal it transmits compared to the classic one?
- Our users will not notice any change when it comes to the quality of the signal. This base station works like any other, the only difference being the way the equipment for telecommunication is powered. With the solar and wind energy as the primary sources of power, the station is also connected to the electrical power, so thereby in the case there is not enough sun or wind, the equipment is electrically powered.
What have been the experiences of the Telenor Group so far with similar machines in other countries you operate in?
- Similar base stations exist in Montenegro, Hungary, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but the hybrid one exists only in Montenegro. Other countries use either the solar energy or the wind energy. Unfortunately, we do not have enough sunlight or wind to cover the powering of the station for an entire year solely with renewable energy sources, and that is why we have made this hybrid solution.
The importance of this project has clearly been acknowledged by the Government as well – The Ministry of environment and spatial planning and secretary Oliver Dulic, who opened the base station in a ceremony, have given their support to this project. What is the significance of a“green” project like this one for Serbia and its citizens?
- Several ecological laws have been passed and we must provide an answer to them and for now, we have a very good cooperation with relevant institutions. I hope it will be even better since green projects and the protection of the environment are an issue that has not been focused on but which is getting more and more of the public attention, so for us it is a very significant part of doing business. We have a great deal of initiatives that are related to this issue and were created back in 2008, and this hybrid station is one of many.
First of all we are dealing with an innovative project. Moreover, we use renewable energy sources and thereby we make certain cuts when it comes to the electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emission. All of the above is an advantage, not just for Telenor, but for the population of Serbia as well since this way we pollute less the environment in which we operate. Furthermore, we raise the awareness of the citizens, relevant institutions and of all people interested.
Telenor is one of few companies in Serbia which has a manager for ecological projects. What are the current and planned activities in the field of environmental protection?
- Apart from the hybrid base station, we are engaged in sorting waste in our administrative buildings in Belgrade, because we want to sort the waste at its primary place of origin and recycle secondary sources so that they could be used again. We are planning to expand it to our regional centers and stores as well.
In the course of this year we will be introducing a system of managing the protection of the environment according to ISO standards 14001 so that our approach will be more systematic when it comes to decreasing our impact on the environment. We are still focusing on the recycling of used phones, it’s a campaign launched in 2007 and we will continue that initiative because we want to include our users in everything we are do in terms of environmental protection, Ivana Vranjican announced in this interview.
Our interviewee adds that one should work on raising people’s awareness and changing their habits and that in Telenor they start from their employees. Papers are printed on both pages only, the company is trying to recycle all of its waste, the number of business trips has been lowered and other ways of communicating are used in order to decrease the usage of certain natural sources and carbon dioxide emission. Last November the employees of Telenor planted trees in the Telenor forest, in Tara National Park in cooperation with the Ecotopia fund and the company bought 4,000 title-deeds and enabled our users who had signed the contract in November to obtain a title-deed and in doing so, enable planting and keeping of one tree.