Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Combining Infrastructures: Cellular Networks & Wind Turbines

I was driving today streaming Pandora Radio through my iPhone and I began to think about how this would not have been possible over 5 years ago due to the lack of high-speed data networks spread across the area.

For the most part high-speed networks are plentiful around big cities such as Chicago, but they are still lacking in the remote parts of the nation. A good example of this is when I was driving from Chicago to Ohio during Thanksgiving.

For the most part, Pandora was able to stream throughout Northern Indiana along 1-65, but it started to get choppy when I passed Indianapolis all the way along 1-70 to Columbus.  The choppiness could be attributed to the patchy high-speed coverage along the highway, and this is where I believe a logical solution presents itself.

Because data networks tend to suffer in remote areas and wind turbines tend to produce the most energy in the same remote areas, I think this is a great opportunity for cellular companies to partner with wind turbine manufacturers and construct hybrid wind turbine-cellular towers.

There are a few examples of these being built, but nothing on a large scale.  More and more people are relying on these high-speed data networks for their everyday lives, which means that these networks will need to be bulked up all across the nation.  This will increase their demand for energy, and I believe that this is a great opportunity for them to invest in clean energy.

By constructing wind turbines that double as cell towers they are essentially increasing their bottom line by not having to buy energy from utilities and instead being able to sell the excess energy back to consumers.

Like any of these energy solutions, this would require a larger upfront investment, but considering that America's information network is an ongoing project, I don't see a reason why they wouldn't attack both of these long-term projects at the same time.

When most business decisions come down to resource allocation, building one tower instead of two saves money and makes sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment