“Could Cumbria count fibre-optic internet connections as remedial action against CO2 emissions? Perhaps we should be able to, because fast broadband could save up to 4,600 km equivalent of CO2 emissions per household, per year! These figures from Jan Schindler’s presentation The Socio-economic impact of fibre to the home given at the 36th European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication, held in Turin, Italy, on September 19 – 23, 2010. If we extrapolate from these figures we can start to see the aggregated potential, for example, in the Big Society Eden Vanguard Pilot area a proposed broadband pilot scheme of about 1000 homes could save the equivalent of up to about 460,000 km of CO2 emissions per year. I don’t know how Jan worked out the figure, but if we said hypothetically that the average CO2 emissions rating in the UK is 162 g/km (Source: http://www.carpages.co.uk/co2/) then that would be a possible saving of up to 74,520 kgs of CO2 per year from the Big Society Eden broadband pilot project.
Some of the best landscapes in England are threatened with ruination at the moment by subsidised wind farm projects that won’t save very much CO2 because of the need for back-up power generation from conventional power stations due to intermittency of the wind. Sometimes it blows near a turbine, sometimes it doesn’t – all the time there needs to be a stable provision for households and businesses. During recent cold winters wind energy apparently contributed pitifully little energy, click here for coverage.
For more on this please see Dr. Mike Hall’s video presentation part 2 on the subject of the dubious claims of CO2 savings from wind. Please click here to read more about the issue in Eden from Rory Stewart, our MP for Penrith and The Border. I’m grateful for his defense of our landscape!
I believe that subsidy of fibre-optic internet connection to homes and premises instead of to wind turbines (where local people don’t want them) would be a far better use of public money as it would have multiple and varied benefits in addition to reducing CO2 emisions. What else does a Wind turbine do? It has but one role.
Here is some encouraging information about the role of broadband from the 36th European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication, held in Turin, Italy, on September 19 – 23, 2010
• “Usage of FTTH services has positive impact on environment
-Less commuting and therefore less traffic
-Less business travel
-Less long distance transport of patients
• Key results ofPricewaterhouseCoopers/Ecobilan STUDY 2009:
-The environmental impact of the deployment of a typical FTTH network will be positive within less than 15 years in average
-Intelligent deployment (e.g. using sewers and existing ducts) can even improve the positive impact of FTTH-Using FTTH and FTTH services can save up to CO2 equivalent of driving a car for 4,600 km per year –for every household!
• FTTH has a positive impact on the environment: 1 million users connected -at least 1 million tons of CO2 saved
• FTTH is a key sustainable utility driver to low carbon economic development.
• FTTHcan help nations, regions, municipalities, operators to meet their carbon reduction objective.”