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Letter to the Editor RE: Hurricane Season is Coming: Are You Ready?

By Shelli Zargary

Dear Mr. Bishop:

We enjoyed reading the article “Hurricane Season is Coming: Are You Ready?” by Leticia Latino, CEO of NeptunoUSA in the recent Above Ground Level Magazine. Coincidentally, there was another article in the same issue of the magazine by GenCell CEO, Rami Reshef, entitled “Overcoming Off-grid Power Problems for Rural Connectivity.”

In the article about hurricanes, the author mentions that to be prepared for the event that hurricanes are likely to cause power outages, telecom providers should invest in power generators and/or COWs.  However, with the advent of such serious climate change issues worldwide, we highly recommend that telecom providers and others needing backup power end their use of diesel and other fossil fuel generators that, in addition to requiring high maintenance in order to be reliable, are also highly pollutant. Instead we recommend that providers turn to clean, cost-effective and ultra-reliable backup power solutions such as fuel cells.

In fact, a 2017 study by the NREL indicates that since 2007, more than 3,000 fuel cell systems were installed at cellular facilities owned by telecom companies—Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, MetroPCS, and others—to power their facilities. The sites include both remote and urban locations. The fuel cell systems are networked and monitored remotely, and they provide benefits that include:

• Longer runtime (greater than 8 hours) to meet emergency power needs
• Quiet operation
• Rooftop installation capability
• Low total cost of ownership
• Small footprint

As such, we believe that fuel cells in general, and high-efficiency alkaline fuel cells in particular, offer a strong value proposition to the telecom industry both for off-grid and backup purposes.

In fact, we also propose that telecom providers consider both stationary as well as portable fuel cells to harden the infrastructure for important emergency safety communication infrastructures such as for FirstNet, the topic of yet another piece in the same issue of AGL – “New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Baltimore Area to Support Public Safety.”  (All roads lead to Rome!)

We highly enjoy reading AGL magazine and thank you for talking about so many important aspects of powering telecom.

Best Regards,
Shelli Zargary
Marketing Content & Strategy Manager

Hurricane Season is Coming: Are You Ready? ran in the May 2019 edition of AGL magazine.