Renewable energy is cheap. Maybe it could help with cellphone bills, at least that might be one thought behind the newly launched “Hang up on Fossil Fuels” campaign by Green America to push AT&T and Verizon to move to 100 percent renewable energy.
“With clean energy sources growing rapidly in the U.S. and prices coming down, more and more companies are getting on board with 100 percent clean energy commitments,” said Beth Porter, climate campaigns director at Green America. “AT&T and Verizon both recognize the urgency of climate change and the need for action, now we need to see that concern translate into commitments to purchase of wind and solar power.”
The campaign is targeting the companies as it becomes apparent more tech leaders like Apple and Google, with some previous prodding, are now powering 100 percent of the US operations—and increasingly more worldwide—with renewable energy. Yet, Green America stated that even as competitor Sprint is already moving to 10 percent renewable energy, Verizon and AT&T are only getting about 2 percent of their power from renewables at this point. It wants to see the companies power 100 percent of their operations with renewable energy 2025.
“AT&T and Verizon are clearly behind the curve when it comes to adopting renewable energy to power their massive data centers,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Consumer and Corporate Engagement at Green America. “As more and more companies recognize their obligations to lower their emissions and help the U.S. meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accords, our two largest cell phone providers are clearly lagging behind leaders like Google and Apple. Now is the time for both companies to make a commitment and provide a timeline to get to 100% renewable energy.”
Green America recognizes the challenge the companies face, observing that they have to maintain their networks and data center servers 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. The organization said that AT&T uses approximately 15 million megawatts of electricity annually while Verizon uses more than 10 million MWs annually. That’s enough to power 2.6 million homes, the organization said.
Moreover, the number of people using data networks via their smartphones is increasing dramatically in the US. In 2017, 207 million people accessed data networks on their smartphones. By 2021 that’s expected to nearly 264 million users. At the same time each users use of data networks is expected to increase by a factor of six, increasing energy demand for the companies.
“Customers of AT&T and Verizon expect both companies to be leaders,” said Fran Teplitz, executive co-director of business, investing, and policy at Green America. “As those customers increasingly use data, and drive demand for power-hungry servers, both companies need to move to renewable energy sources quickly to lower the impact of their operations on the planet.”Tweet