Cable’s Energy 2020 program was definitely a highlight at this year’s SCTE Cable Tec-Expo, from the self-guided tour featuring energy efficient products to the “Cable’s Power Innovators” exhibit showcasing specific operator-vendor progress in reducing energy consumption. With the bulk of cable operator power now identified in the edge and outside plant, technologies such as Adaptive Power Systems Interface Specification (APSIS) and renewables will shape the industry’s energy efficiency strategy, John Schanz, Comcast chief network officer and Expo co-chair, said at the conference Thurs.
The 2020 initiative, launched a year ago, has resulted in 14 standards and best practices to-date, said Time Warner Cable critical infrastructure vp Dan Cooper. Moving forward, the plan is to expand the program to include new energy technology, partner with energy groups, create widespread awareness and increase participation, Cooper said. Among new partners is the National Renewable Energy Lab, which will join a 6-month program with the 2020 campaign. The initiative also aims to enhance adoption of energy standards and best practices. That includes working with MSOs on implementation, Cooper said. And as MSOs roll out DOCSIS 3.1 next year and beyond, enhancements to the protocol can increase cable modem energy efficiency, said Layer3 TV co-founder/CTO Dave Fellows. The latest cable standard is more energy efficient than existing 3.0 standards, allowing modems to go into “sleep” mode during low use periods.
In addition, moving functionalities to the cloud—something cable ops are doing—can help save energy as it centralizes management and operations of services, said Liberty Global sr manager of sustainability Sam Khola. Comcast is looking to use alternative energy. The MSO has installed its 1st natural gas fuel cell facility at a regional center, group technical advisor, svp Theresa Hennesy said. The experience has taught the company how to use new types of energy and integrate them into operations, she said. In addition, the MSO is exploring energy efficiency techniques at its national and regional hubs and all technical facilities. TWC has tested the use of fuel cells, and it’s looking at solar energy technology to lower its energy expenses, Cooper acknowledged. The goal is to mix and match alternative technology approaches, he said. A general guidance document featuring members’ latest best practices will be shared in the next few months, according to Khola. Comcast’s network architecture vp Rob Howald shared some short-term ideas to achieve access network energy efficiency.
“There are tons of low hanging fruit,” he said. They include doing more with the same power footprint, upgrading untouched legacy equipment, and converting 60 volt systems to 90 volt systems. An important near-term goal of 2020 is to develop a consistent approach to the financial analysis across 2020 teams, said Block Communications CTO Joe Jensen. That’s especially necessary as members move forward with their implementations and as the initiative looks to analyze ROI from the program next year, speakers said.