Glastonbury Festival powered by solar, storage and vegetable oil


Onsite power provider Aggreko delivered 25 MW of electricity and introduced several emission-reducing power solutions at the Glastonbury Festival.

Aggreko has supplied power to the festival since 2007 and this year several parts of the 900-acre site in Somerset, England, were powered by hybrid thermal-solar generators, combined with battery storage systems and energy management software. 

Scotland-headquartered Aggreko said that these measures would save over 200 metric tonnes of CO2 across the course of the festival, compared to using diesel generators.

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The festival’s Green Fields HQ ran entirely on solar power for the duration of the festival, which were combined with battery storage systems. 

Aggreko’s generators at the festival ran on hydrotreated vegetable oil, which  is derived from a mix of 100 per cent used vegetable oils and waste fats.

The variant of hydrotreated vegetable oil used during the event includes additives which produce a fuel that Aggreko says has several advantages over standard diesel, including an 84 per cent reduction in particulates; an 80 per cent-plus saving on greenhouse gases; and zero sulphur emissions.

Bill Egan of Aggreko Events Services said ahead of the event: “Powering a major event like Glastonbury presents a huge challenge. Providing 25 MW of low-carbon power with the reliability to ensure that there are no disappointments for the festival-goers is no mean feat. 

“Aggreko’s use of low carbon HVO fuel, combined with our innovative thermal, hybrid, storage and solar power solutions, will ensure that everyone enjoys the festival without interruption, all the whilst supporting Glastonbury’s efforts to minimise its impact on the environment”.

Around 175,000 people will attend the three-day event and this year orgainser Emily Eavis has banned the sale of single-use plastic drink bottles across the site, with festival-goers being able to refill their own bottle from 850 taps and water kiosks that utlilize the site’ own purpose-built reservoirs.

The CEO of Welland Power, Charlie Farrow said its great to see a UK company like Aggreko using HVO fuel as an alternative to a standard diesel generator.

While the world is leaning towards cleaner and more sustainable sources of power, Farrow questions whether the use of HVO is really sustainable?

“Its supply is limited, it takes a food source from the food chain and its price isn’t cost-competitive with diesel,” Farrow comments.

According to Farrow, engine manufacturers that produce models for use in power generation like PerkinsCummins and Baudouin haven’t really focused on producing engines for this market, beyond the statutory to allow up to 5% of standard diesel to contain biodiesel.

A slightly different version of this story originally appeared on our sister-site, Power Engineering International.