Cellnex is aware of the importance of its energy performance and the sustainable origin of the energy necessary for its operations. In this sense, indirect emissions from electricity consumption are an significant contributor to Cellnex's carbon footprint.
To boost this awareness, specific Energy Guidelines were issued in 2021 and further developed in 2022. The guidelines establish that Cellnex promotes the efficient use of energy through the implementation of energy saving and efficiency measures in work processes and conduct, and by controlling and monitoring consumption in the most significant uses. All of this is based on compliance with applicable legal and regulatory standards at international, European, state, regional and local level, as well as the willingness to adapt to future standards and the requirements of customers and society.
To demonstrate its commitment to responsible consumption and proper energy management, in 2021 Cellnex adopted an Environment and Climate Change Policy, specifying its commitments relating to efficient energy management:
To comply with these commitments, in 2021 Cellnex released the first version of its Energy Transition Plan as part of its ESG Master Plan and the Strategic Sustainability Plan.
Green energy sourcing
The Energy Transition Plan has four pillars:
Energy Transition Plan Targets
Deploying Global Energy Platform for 70% of Cellnex's consumption by 2025
100% green energy consumption by 2025.
70% of Cellnex consumption to be ISO 50001 certified by 2025.
During 2021 Cellnex released the first version of its Energy Transition Plan, focused on defining the scope and overall strategy, but only with regard to delivering commitments under the Green Energy Sourcing pillar. However, in 2022 Cellnex continued developing the overall strategy of intensifying the key activities and outlined corporate commitments to pave the path to carbon neutral operations. In addition, a budget plan was allocated to investment and development for the four pillars of the Energy Transition Plan.
The Group's total energy consumption for 2022 was 1,301 GWh (1,227 GWh in 2021), the largest part of which was electricity consumption. Cellnex's electricity consumption derives mainly from site electricity consumption and, to a lesser extent, office electricity consumption. In 2022 the total electricity consumed was 1,295 GWh (1,223 GWh in 2021), 77% of which came from renewable sources.
Detailed information on energy consumption is available in Annex 6. KPI Tables
Total energy consumption by source
Share of renewable electricity
Share of renewable electricity by country (%)
As a result of the green energy sourcing strategy, the share of renewable electricity has increased in recent years from 10% in 2020 to 77% in 2022.
Cellnex is promoting energy efficiency and self generation measures, together with its customers.
As a result of investments made in energy saving and efficiency measures, in 2022 it was possible to reduce energy consumption, as shown below.
In 2022 the energy efficiency initiatives carried out by Cellnex Spain were a pilot with photovoltaic panel at sites, a pilot with hydrogen batteries, upgrading a broad range of active equipment, upgrading refrigeration equipment, and monitoring and controlling consumption.
Cellnex Netherlands is working on different projects as improving energy-measurement on inventory (active equipment) to detect unknown energy consumption items; replacement of current lighting in media gateway data-center by for LED; replacement of old cooling equipment in the media gateway data-center; or energy savings at sites by usage of alternative energy sources (wind solar smart batteries).
These initiatives shall be implemented gradually over the coming years.
Cellnex Ireland has identified four sites which are now at the design stage. Each site will be fitted with two 4kW photovoltaic systems to supply energy to the base stations on site. This small project is a pilot for a much larger one that may commence in the coming months.
Cellnex Italy carried out three energy efficiency initiatives: Isolation transformer,
Outplacement of indoor equipment and Silenced Free-Cooling.
In 2022 Cellnex Poland continued with the modernisation of BBUs (DC power systems) by replacing rectifiers with more effective models and installing reactive power compensators. In addition, 300 air-conditioning devices were replaced at its sites in 2022.
As part of its determination to remain at the cutting edge of technological advances and support the Energy Transition plan, Cellnex conducted a pilot in Spain to evaluate Fuel Cells and a pilot to test aluminium based energy storage.
In 2022 Cellnex Spain completed a pilot programme to test and validate the use of aluminium-air batteries as backup power at its sites. Cellnex collaborated with the company Phinergy to replace a diesel generating set with these innovative aluminium-air batteries which deliver 4 kW, enough to power a medium-sized telecommunications infrastructure with approximately 20 hours capacity.
In view of the results, at the end of the pilot project, the aluminium battery system was kept on site for use as the standard backup power system and to assess the potential for adding it to the technological solutions used by Cellnex at its sites. This is one way in which the Company continues to make progress in fulfilling its ESG commitments to use renewable energy sources at its facilities. Moreover, given the ease of transport and installation, it is possible to use these batteries with zero environmental impact in rural locations, hard-to-reach areas, offshore sites and wherever a conventional power line is technically or economically unfeasible. Even electric vehicles will be able to benefit from this technology with packs allowing them to extend their range when chargers are not readily available.
Water consumption throughout the Cellnex Group is used primarily for sanitation. Water for the whole Group is provided mainly through the public water supply network, with a total consumption of 2,195 m3 in 2022 (11,038 m3 in 2021), 80% lower than 2021.
Moreover, in 2022 the Group's water footprint was calculated and audited in line with the methodology defined in ISO 14046. Although Cellnex's consumption is a non-material issue for the Company due to the nature of its activity, Cellnex aims to calculate its water footprint annually to monitor and control the impact of Cellnex's activity on this resource.
Cellnex Spain has prepared a Good Environmental Practices guide with useful recommendations which is available to all its workers. These tips can be found on the Company's intranet and can be applied both at work and in daily life.
Waste generated at Cellnex sites during construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning operations is managed by waste management providers. To check that this management is carried out properly, Cellnex ensures that any waste produced by its suppliers in the course of outsourced activities is treated properly. In addition, Cellnex promotes proper waste management throughout the Company and its value chain, taking the waste hierarchy into account, thereby fostering the prevention of waste, and prepares it for reuse and recycling.
Cellnex Spain has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Alcalá to donate telecommunications equipment that is dismantled at Cellnex sites so that the University can use it for education purposes. In this way, Cellnex gives its equipment a second life.
As a circular economy initiative, Cellnex has donated 102 obsolete mobile phones to l'Associació Cívica La Nau to be reused. This initiative has prevented the generation of 15 kg of electronic waste and 806 kg of CO2.
Cellnex's vision is to transform the existing paradigm to reduce the environmental impact generated by Cellnex TIS centres in Europe, with a particular focus on requirements affecting suppliers and the applicable eco-design strategies. In 2020 Cellnex initiated a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) project for the TIS centres to identify inputs (consumption of raw materials and energy) and outputs (emissions to water, air and soil, waste and by- products) throughout every stage of their life cycle.
In 2022 Cellnex updated the LCA project begun in 2020 through the development of the Eco-design project, which established two eco-design models (short-term scenario and long-term scenario) for the two types of TIS centres (rural and rooftop), taking into account the technical and legal barriers for each of them and the proposed eco-design strategies.
To this end, an eco-design checklist was drawn up to enable:
The eco-design checklist was drawn up by applying ISO 14006. This standard provides the necessary guidelines to help the organisation establish a systematic and structured approach in the mainstreaming and implementation of an eco-design process. The most notable aspects of the design and development process for a TIS centre contained in the eco-design checklist are:
To this end, Cellnex has established a green procurement protocol, defining a list of sustainability and circularity criteria to facilitate decision-making related to the evaluation and selection of providers that operate the IT centres. In this regard, aspects such as eco-design, consumption of raw materials, energy consumption, emissions, waste generation, impact on biodiversity and social and economic impact are taken into account.
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