Did you know that the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games aren’t the first to have the objective of powering the games with 100% renewable energy?
The Tokyo Games, which were scheduled to take place in July 2020 (and are said to be taking place in July 2021) released plans conveying the commitment of the Tokyo2020 organising committee to the ‘3Rs’ – reduce, reuse and recycle.
The plans included using 100% renewable energy at the various Olympic venues, hydrogen use across the electric vehicle fleet and reducing CO2 emissions.
These plans for Tokyo were initially put in place in 2012 and show a trend that recognises such large events need to be run as sustainably as possible. This was seen in Italy in 2015 during the World Fair and in 2010, when the Vancouver Winter Olympics became the first event to constantly monitor energy usage and encourage energy efficiency across the event venues.
But it’s not just about sustainable energy usage – it’s also about how technology is being used to ensure the quality of the energy supply throughout the duration of these large international events.
For the Sochi Winter Games in 2014, Russia built “49 major energy projects, according to Energy Minister Alexander Novak, increasing capacity to generate electricity in the Sochi region by 800 per cent,” reports the National Geographic.
Russian energy giant Gazprom, which built one of the energy plants, namely the Adler plant and the pipeline, said Adler is the largest power plant ever constructed specifically for a sporting event.
During the 2012 summer Olympics in London on the other hand, 260MW of power was provided by Aggreko via 500 generator sets, 1500 km of cable and 4500 distribution panels – across 54 venues. It was the biggest deployment of temporary power for a single sporting event ever in the UK.
I won’t get into a discussion of the costs vs the benefits of hosting an Olympic Games, nor the environmental impact and economic burden many cities incur in order to host the games.
However, I wanted to ask what your thoughts are on the ever-increasing energy needs of such large events. Would this effort be better served to provide necessary services to citizens, or does the impetus to spend on infrastructure for the games delivery benefit for citizens that may otherwise have remain un-served?
When the amount of infrastructure that needs to be provided to keep the lights on exceeds that of a medium-sized town – do we need to reconsider priorities?
During the 2016 Olympics, power was provided to Rio from UTE Baixada Fluminense (installed capacity of 530 MW) along with gas turbines with 3,722 MW installed capacity – enough power to supply a city of 6.3 million inhabitants, like Rio de Janeiro.
In Beijing, Chinese utilities have signed agreements with Olympic venues to deploy renewable energy and other electrification projects. Some three renewable energy projects are underway including a 10GW wind power initiative, large-scale photovoltaic power bases, and high-temperature solar thermal power projects.
If you were running the Olympics, what would you do differently when it comes to the provision of power?
Have a week of Olympic proportions!
Until next time,