Behind the Scenes at 2016 BMW PGA Championship: Powering the Event.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Graham Dames, AggrekoAs part of our Behind the Scenes at the 2016 BMW PGA Championship series energy expert and Sales Manager at Aggreko Events Service Northern Europe, Graham Dames spoke with us about how the energy supply to the event is prioritising efficiency. 

All interviews in the Behind the Scenes at the 2016 BMW PGA Championship series can be found here.

Graham has worked alongside Aggreko’s Project Team over the years on many prestigious projects including London 2012 and the Commonwealth Games as well as regular events such as the Download Festival, Goodwood Estate Events, London Fashion Week & Farnborough Airshow.

1. Why is sustainability important to Aggreko and what benefits have you seen in prioritising resource efficiency?

We have a duty to control both our own and our customers’ carbon footprint and also take cost into consideration.  Increased efficiencies bring both reduced carbon footprint and reduced costs.

Our relationships with our customers are extremely important to us and they have been built on trust. They trust us to provide them with a service that is not only reliable and cost effective but also minimizes their environmental impact. This has increasingly become an important factor when seeking an energy supplier. Our performance in this area, and holding credible sustainability certifications, such as CEMARS, adds value to our customers

2. How many years have you been working in events? Can you tell us little about how the format for energy needs has evolved throughout this time?

I’ve been working in events for Aggreko for six and a half years. The energy requirement for a number of major events has increased during this time, generally to support an enhanced end user experience; this could be due to increasing capacity or technology advancements, such as having wifi available on site. Reliable broadcast power is key, as audience numbers for many events continues to grow. The power demands at events is also growing, to cope with ticketing, catering, accommodation, and also maintaining ambient temperatures for spectators, audio visual equipment and arenas.

On the flip side technology advancements have reduced the power generation needs, as an example efficiencies in LED Audio Visual Screens and Lighting technology

3. How much energy is required to power the BMW Championship and how has this varied for this particular event? 

Aggreko supplies all the power generation needs for the BMW Championship, this covers the course and village, as well as satellite sites, such as the park and ride locations. We have 24 diesel generators on site generating 3.2MVA of power. Most of the energy generation is centered around the hospitality village.

We’re proud to be in the position to support this flagship event for the European Tour. The general layout at this Championship has been fairly consistent over the years; we have worked with the European Tour to reduce the size of some of the generators and reduce fuel consumption. Audiences and spectators are increasingly sophisticated in terms of their needs and expectations and their reliance on technology. They are also increasingly concerned about their impact, so we are flexible around energy consumption, noise reduction, energy source etc.

 Venues are constantly looking at ways to enhance the visitor experience. Many venues are now more multi-purpose than ever, so the flexibility and agility of our solutions, our extensive experience and expertise in diverse events, in remote locations and climates, really come into their own

4. How do you minimise the amount of diesel needed to generate energy at the event?

We know from experience that there is no such thing as one size fits all, so for us, it’s about being creative and thinking out of the box to find ways to minimize fuel consumption. That might mean using smaller generators working in sync to come on line and off line as demand peaks dictate.

It’s also about installing generators to meet capacity. Installing a 300kVA generator to cover a peak power load that a 200kVA could supply is uneconomical in a number of ways – wasted capacity, burns more fuel, and is more costly to transport. 

All our equipment is new and efficient technology and it is well maintained to ensure optimal operational efficiency and we have engineers on site throughout the event to quickly deal with any issues that might arise.

Our proprietary Aggreko Remote Monitoring (ARM) is active across the majority of our fleet and provides real-time data of generator performance. It gives in-depth analysis about the health of the machine to ensure optimum operational efficiency.

All of the above are important factors in the make-up of a project. We look to always challenge re-design and strive to reduce our customers’ costs in fuel use and ultimately help reduce their carbon footprint.

5. What challenges and opportunities are there on the use of renewable and clean energy such as solar and biofuel at major temporary events?

 There’s no doubt that there is a growing opportunity to use biofuels as a primary fuel source for power generation. However, there are challenges when it comes to the use of biofuels and there are a number of factors to consider, including availability, quality, cost, and quantity. We work with our customers to understand their priorities.

We have used biofuel on a number of projects over the years to help our customers reach their carbon footprint targets. We recently powered the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden from HVO (Hydro treated Vegetable Oil) fuel, some 4.6MVA of power generation powering broadcast, lighting, sound, video and production. This contest was carbon neutral and had the lowest carbon footprint of any song contest to date.

For solar technology, the key is to understand the limitations, as well as clear benefits. It’s all about knowing the power map across a site and positioning such equipment at the correct application. Reliability of power is key, and our prime objective is to provide reliable power to our customers, so any fuel variant is an important consideration.

Solar and hybrid technology also have their place in the jigsaw of delivering a considered solution to event projects large or small. 

It is certainly an exciting time for Aggreko, and for me personally we’re looking forward to what the next few years hold for increased efficiencies and new fuel sources.

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