Vantage Towers turns to wind power in Germany

Vantage Towers has agreed to buy more than 750 wind turbines from renewable energy start-up Mowea to power its sites in Germany.

Mary Lennighan

January 20, 2022

2 Min Read
Mowea mini turbines
Mowea mini turbines

Vantage Towers has agreed to buy more than 750 wind turbines from renewable energy start-up Mowea to power its sites in Germany.

You could be forgiven for assuming that such a large number of wind turbines – there are 752 in total – would cover a large number of Vantage’s mobile sites, but in fact they will power just 52…and even then, not all the time. That said, this deal is more than just a nod to the green agenda – those turbines will generate a lot of power – and there is scope for expansion in future.

The turbines themselves are small, which is pretty obvious given that we’re looking at more than a dozen per site (see image).

According to Mowea, its mini turbines are based on a modular design and can therefore be installed in places where conventional turbines would not be an option; on the sides of cell towers, for example. Nonetheless, Vantage Towers still needs the usual approvals from building authorities to install them, but permits permitting the rollout will begin in the second half of this year.

They also operate independently of conventional energy sources, and are therefore suitable for remote locations. The power generated is used directly at the sites, to run the active equipment, rather than being fed back to the grid.

Speaking of power, the turbines can generate a fair amount. Under average wind conditions, the power generated will cover 100% of the towers’ energy requirements, Vantage Towers said. The turbines are capable of reducing grid power consumption and electrical running costs at each site by two-thirds or more, which equates to an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of as much as 239 tonnes compared with the average German power mix.

It is worth noting that the operator customer at each of the 52 sites is Vantage Towers’ parent company Vodafone. That’s unsurprising, given how much effort the mobile operator is expending on its own green agenda of late; it announced last summer that its operations across Europe are now powered solely by renewable energy, for example.

Before we get too carried away though, let’s not forget that Germany is Vantage Towers’ biggest market and as such it has a lot of towers there. It reported having 19,400 macro sites in Germany at the end of September, which makes the project Mowea look very small fry.

But you have to start somewhere.

“We have more than 82,000 towers in Europe,” noted Vantage Towers CEO Vivek Badrinath. “So, if the pilot project is a success, there is clear potential for the future expansion of the partnership.”

Moving from several tens of sites to several tens of thousands would be quite a scaling-up effort. But it’s clear that Vantage and Vodafone are looking in that direction, even if it could be some years away.

About the Author(s)

Mary Lennighan

Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.

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