On November 15-16, Host City 2022 Conference and Exhibition takes place in Glasgow, Scotland with the theme of Face to Face with New Realities. Host City gives world leaders in the events industry an opportunity to educate each other on the innovative technology and solutions that contribute towards a positive long-term impact. As the headline sponsor of Host City 2022, Aggreko is looking forward to sharing their thoughts via their guest speaker David De Behr, Host City advisory board member and Head of Sales Major Events at Aggreko.
2022 was certainly an influential year for Aggreko, with an unrivalled record of accomplishments throughout regional and global events such as The Invictus Games and SailGP to name a few. Whether it be the debut of ground-breaking sustainable technologies or reliable on-time temporary power solutions at some of this year’s biggest events, Aggreko’s teams were hard at work to deliver their renowned specialism in all event operations. De Behr leads the Sales team within Aggreko Event Services, providing power and temperature control solutions to a wide range of events customers.
“There has been visible change in recent years within the sports and entertainment events industry, with technology evolving so fast that it now has a drive to be energy efficient on its own,” De Behr said. “How can we make it a better world and really kick-start sustainable actions?”
Aggreko has been exploring new ways of delivering temporary energy solutions whilst reducing emissions, whether it be through new technological innovations, a range of more sustainable temporary energy equipment or designing energy solutions to be as efficient as possible. “Through the use of new types of equipment that are driven by technology on events, we have now seen a drop in energy demand and the importance shift to the accuracy of energy supply and efficiency.”
At the 2022 Great Britain Sail Grand Prix this July in Plymouth, UK, Aggreko’s challenge was to provide reliable and renewable temporary power solutions across the race weekend that suited the surrounding environment. Aggreko premiered bio-methanol fuel as an energy source for the first time at a live event in the UK, resulting in up to 97% less CO2 emissions compared with diesel.
Aggreko have utilised multiple emission-reducing technologies in 2022 including HVO fuel, hydrogen, battery units and solar power.
“The more battery units and solar panels that you can utilise the better; however, there will always be other constraints that need addressing such as limitation of space, reliability and need for critical power.”
Even though the technology is there, Aggreko use their specialism to select specific power solutions for each event that will adapt to the local environment.
So what are the main challenges of providing sustainable solutions? “New technology costs more money,” De Behr explained. “Unfortunately for now, sustainable solutions will be more expensive than traditional energy solutions and it is going to stay like that for a while. You see this all over the world, everything that is new is more expensive, but the more its produced and the easier it is to access the more the cost is reduced. For the moment our Stage V generators, solar technology, battery units and hydrogen sets are more expensive than traditional energy solutions, so it is a challenge.”
Aggreko have used their years of experience to form a specialist strategy that combines reliable energy supplies with new emission reducing technology. “The first thing we always do is to try to maximise the use of local grid if coming from a renewable source. For a customer, this is the most cost-effective and energy efficient.”
At each event, Aggreko conducts a metric design phase that assess where solar panels, HVO fuel, Stage V generators and battery units can be paired with energy from the grid. Creating a ‘mini sustainable grid’ is the best way to ensure a reduction in carbon emissions without reducing the reliability of energy supply.
“People need to look at their energy consumption in a more focused way. I think we have all grown up and been guilty of putting the thermostat on 21 degrees all year round. On a microscale this is what we have been trying to do with our customers – to look in detail at what they actually need and how we can change the supply chain.”
So what role do hydrogen and battery units play in the future? “I had hoped hydrogen solutions would come around much faster; I have seen it work and it can be fantastic! The technology is ready, but the problem lies with the supply chain. We need to get the car market to jump on hydrogen, which is then going to create demand, sparking investment from the big energy companies around the world.”
Switched on to the future
“The aim is to make people more focused around energy in general, and that will have the greatest impact on sustainability,” said De Behr.
“We have a whole new generation which cares. I really believe in the next five years that people will choose the events they attend based on how sustainable they are.
“Whether it’s a wedding or a private event, a fashion show or a music concert, it will become a must that when we make an offer, we should be able to state exactly how many emissions that event is going to produce.”
Aggreko’s goals for the future are to “keep maximising the ‘green’ grid for the client when it makes economic sense by using our specialist engineering. I think that’s the only way because slowly more of the grid will come from sustainable sources and it’s the fastest way for the customer.”
Batteries, however, are one of the most effective renewable energy solutions being integrated by Aggreko because “any energy wasted can be put back into batteries, or if you have too much energy capacity you can store it within the battery and run from there. In the near future I believe it will be common for domestic houses to have a battery pack; when you have too much energy, you can store it for when you do not have enough sun for your solar panels.”
Aggreko are switched on when it comes to innovating their services and will continue to invest in the assurance of their safety, reliability and sustainability meeting the highest standard at every event. “The company has always been switched on with choosing a direction and as demand grows, we will keep looking for ways to increase temporary energy reliability and discover technologies that leave a positive long-term impact on our planet.”