With millions of global spectators, and thousands on location, organisers and hosts of major sporting events are under constant pressure to deliver a successful event on time, on budget and to the highest possible quality.
There is also usually common ground shared between events – from health and safety requirements to energy supply, media management and coordinating local infrastructure. Inevitably, however, the diversity of modern major events means there are always specific challenges to overcome.
In those circumstances, suppliers have to be at their most innovative to satisfy an event’s needs.
Aggreko has been supplying power to major event organisers and hosts for decades and we have encountered our fair share of complexities along the way.
Two of our most consistent strategic requirements are to plan ahead in order to meet high capacity demand (for example during opening ceremonies or at peak viewing times); and being prepared for unexpected power disruptions, particularly if we are working closely with a local electricity grid.
Two increasingly frequent criteria are managing space constraints and reducing noise pollution – these are particular concerns for events in city locations.
Noise levels are now addressed in the very early stages of planning a major event, typically because of the risk of disrupting athletes or performers. In multi-venue events, each location could come with local issues, requiring an organiser to prevent disruption to residents nearby. Every event is different; each requires detailed planning from layout and installation to maintenance and project management.
Some events even promote their community spirit – the city of Glasgow adopted the slogan “people make Glasgow” in the lead up to and during the XX Commonwealth Games, which made it imperative for suppliers like us to ensure the Games worked for residents. No doubt the same will be true when we supply our power solutions for the Gold Coast Games in 2018. Yes, it’s important that the actual events are a success, but it is equally important that our equipment does not interfere with the sound and quality of the production, which includes the customer experience in and around venues.
There are several proven strategies for minimising noise emissions linked to power generation at events. Driving them all has to be a focus on energy efficiency, as an efficient use of power allows us to reduce the actual number and size of generators in situ. When space is limited or your equipment is likely to be close to the action, being efficient can really help to reduce noise emissions.
Noise barriers are another great way to minimise disruption for city centre events, reducing noise levels in areas overlooked by residents and businesses. Under typical installation conditions, our Generator Set Enclosure Barrier, for example, can reduce noise levels by 90% (10dB) for residents on the 6th floor of an overlooking building and by 84% (8dB) on the ground floor.
Golf events like The Ryder Cup are a particular challenge. Not only are they typically set on courses some distance from mainstream infrastructure, but also they require a discreet audience and an even quieter built environment, even at the most critical moments of excitement. As a result, we take further steps to reduce noise during Ryder Cups, as doing so is critical to the event’s integrity and success. At Hazeltine earlier this year we provided 24MW of power to the event using our innovative “Super Silent” generators that produce very low noise emissions (48-55dBA at 50 feet).
Athletes, spectators and local people’s demands must be front of mind at all time, both for organisers and suppliers, in order to protect an event’s reputation. With future investment at stake, a smooth (and quiet) operation is crucial.