Eating the Energy Elephant One Byte at A Time: Managing Energy Consumption Across the Cable Network (2023)

By Katie Flynn, Comcast Cable; Budd Batchelder, Comcast Cable

Cable Operators consume energy in unique ways relative to other industries, making a structured, data-driven approach to energy management a requirement to meet Carbon Neutrality and Network Energy Efficiency goals in an optimized manner. Managing the unique energy footprint of a network can often feel like a massive challenge (like the Desmond Tutu metaphor of eating an elephant) but implementing an energy management system (EMS) that can evolve over time makes controlling network energy possible. The foundation for an energy management program is data. Energy consumption must be measured at actionable levels so that performance can be quantified. Comcast is implementing a data-driven EMS like never before. In 2022, Comcast set a goal to double network energy efficiency (as measured by electricity per consumed byte) by 2030. To advance on this goal, we have developed a holistic data collection system that quantifies energy consumption at the asset level (i.e., facilities and the outside plant, measured at power supplies). We are empowering our stakeholders to control their energy consumption by providing self-service dashboards to visualize progress and performance. With the right tools in place to measure and evaluate performance, we now tackle the challenge of eating the energy elephant, one byte at a time. Key influencers of energy consumption are identified and engaged to drive opportunities to execution. Teams can validate and prioritize energy opportunities based on potential impact and available resources. Execution of energy conservation measures is verified. Collectively, these activities are a systematic implementation of the traditional plan, do, check, act continuous improvement cycle. This paper and presentation discuss the evolution of Comcast’s energy management program from grassroots, pilot-style ideation to network-wide embedded effort where our team of experts, field personnel, and management collectively make tackling the overall, elephant-sized challenge manageable.

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