The Green Party has published a report calling for cell networks to share equipment, saying that "competition between mobile phone companies is wasting almost 300 GWh a year due to duplication of telephone network equipment". Three hundred gigawatt-hours annually is approximately one per cent of one per cent of the UK's energy usage.
Darren Johnson, Green Party trade and industry spokesman, said that "the government should require mobile phone operators to share facilities. They would save money, cut CO2 emissions and provide the same level of signal cover with fewer masts."
The report, titled Better Together, says that energy savings from compelling phone networks to share equipment would be significant. The Greens' analysis states that the recovered 300 GWh is a third of the power required to run the London Underground*, seven times that required for the Docklands Light Railway and enough to run the Blackpool Tramway for 137 years.
All that said, however, the UK's annual total energy consumption is more than 2,700 terawatt-hours. Three hundred GWh is just 0.0001 of this amount.
The Green Party says that if it were in charge of the UK, energy demand would be significantly reduced by policies such as those advocated in Better Together. This would enable the country to run mainly on renewable power.
Assuming a fifty per cent cut in national energy use, roughly 4500 reports like Better Together will need to become national policy**. The Green Party seems to have some things at least in common with Tesco. ®
*This considers energy used for train traction only: it doesn't include lighting, escalators, ventilation etc.
**Using a bit of Green Party style analysis, this would equate to more than a million sheets of paper generated. That's on the basis that it takes just five further sheets of governmental and parliamentary bumf to turn each one of Green policy into law, and that each document gets printed out only five times.