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In wireless sensor networks (WSN), sensor nodes are powered by batteries. To make efficient use of battery energy is critical to sensor network lifetime. When targets are redundantly covered by multiple sensors, especially in randomly deployed sensor networks, it is possible to save battery energy by organizing sensors into mutually exclusive subsets and alternatively activating only one subset at a time. To solve this problem, the relationship between the desired QoS requirement and the minimum number of active nodes is analyzed in the randomly deployed sensor networks. We propose a location independent and coverage efficient (LICE) protocol for WSN based on our analytical results. The protocol selects the minimum number of active nodes based on their energy and previous working status without using any location information. Simulation and analysis demonstrate that our LICE protocol not only reduces the energy consumption of sensor nodes and increases the network lifetime, but also balances the energy dissipation among nodes.