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Intelligent Energy in £1.2bn deal to supply clean fuel cell power to 27,400 telecom towers in India

UK-based Intelligent Energy will purchase contracts from GTL Ltd, a major Indian network services provider, to supply energy management services across more than 27,400 telecom towers in India. This landmark deal, worth £1.2 billion (US$1.9 billion) over 10 years, is expected to have a transformative impact on India’senergy market.

Essential Energy, IE’s Indian subsidiary, will assume the power management for over 27,400 mobile telecom towers (this is equivalent to 50% of the UK’s telecom towers, and 13% of the US’s).

Essential Energy intends to transition around 70% of the managed telecom towers from diesel power to hydrogen fuel cells throughout their contracts’ tenure.

The deployment of hydrogen fuel cell power to Indian telecom towers marks a watershed transformation of the Indian power grid, previously faulted for stifling India’s economic growth due to persistent unreliability. Over 70% of India’s 425,000 telecom towers experience power outages of approximately 8 h per day, leaving nearly half of the country’s 935 million cellphone users frequently disconnected for extended periods.

Diesel generators are currently the main backup power source, but fuel cells will be more efficient and cleaner, and can be more economical on a total cost of ownership basis than diesel generators.

‘Using our technology, India can leapfrog into an information-driven future without assuming the costs and experiencing the difficulties of first implementing a conventional energy grid,’ says Dr Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy. ‘This deal sets a significant precedent for shaping India’s energy future.’

Intelligent Energy is also working with Ascend Telecom in India, with a successful trial ahead of an anticipated major fuel cell deployment on its telecom towers.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Policy, investment and markets