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Energy Efficiency

The A1 Group’s target is to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero latest by 2050 and to cut energy consumption per terabyte transferred (in MWh/terabyte) by 80% over the same period, thereby increasing its energy efficiency.

The topic of energy supply is approached from two perspectives. On one hand, the aim is to reduce or stabilize electricity consumption in order to maintain the most energy-efficient operation possible and avoid carbon emissions before they even occur. This goal and the path to achieving it are in line with scientific findings and have been verified by the Science-based Target Initiative (SBTi), which aims to reduce emissions and strives to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees in all sectors. On the other hand, the required electricity should be generated by or purchased from renewable sources as far as possible in order to minimize the environmental impact of electricity consumption. In our Clean Energy Strategy, we have defined specific goals and measures to continuously reduce our electricity consumption and steadily increase the share of renewable energy in our energy mix.

Ecological Network Design

The A1 Group’s greatest environmental impact comes from the electricity consumed in operating its networks, which accounts for around 90% of its total energy requirements. The mobile network plays the largest part, accounting for 60% of the Group’s electricity consumption. It is therefore the most important lever for reducing the associated carbon emissions.

For example, the new mobile communication standard 5G with its higher spectral efficiency also achieves improved energy utilization efficiency when compared with older generations of mobile networks. However, the demand for electricity is expected to rise with increasing 5G communication and the associated dynamic increase in transmitted data. To counteract this, the A1 Group plans to switch off older generations of mobile communications in the coming years, in line with international market trends. This is intended to sustainably optimize energy efficiency and provide a supporting building block on the way to decarbonizing the Group.

In the case of power supply units, air conditioning systems, and ventilation systems, which are among the largest energy consumers, energy efficiency programs are specifically aimed at reducing those energy costs that are not primarily related to data transport. At the same time, the use of more and more fiber in the fixed-line network is helping to reduce electricity consumption compared with old copper-based technologies. In A1’s data centers in Austria, innovative cooling methods such as hot-spot suction, cold-aisle containment, and heat recovery systems are leading to a reduction in energy requirements of up to 75% compared with conventional cooling systems. The increasing use of cloud solutions also contributes to the improvement of energy efficiency. The optimization of hardware resources, greater energy efficiency of newer hardware generations, and the reduction of physical space requirements in data centers play a key role here.

For years now, the A1 Group has been focusing on improving its energy efficiency through various initiatives in order to decouple rising data volumes from the associated energy consumption. For example, the use of the latest generation of RAN (Radio Access Network) components ensures improved energy efficiency in addition to the associated high quality of service. One example of a software-based solution for intelligent network optimization that leads to higher energy efficiency is “Dynamic Cell Sleep”. This involves putting frequency ranges that are needed for additional capacity during periods of high data traffic volumes into standby mode when traffic volumes are low.