Tim Benson, Chair of Powerful Thinking, reflects on the event industry’s “annus horribilis” and looks at how new technology can help set higher energy efficiency targets for the next season:

“What promised to be such a great event season for so many, has turned into the event industry’s annus horribilis. No one has been immune, be they established events, artists, suppliers, contractors and freelancers alike – we have all been left to contemplate our commercial mortality, or should I say viability Rishi Sunak?

As is so often the case, our supply chain was once again called upon to install temporary infrastructure in dark times. It was not that long ago that event professionals turned their hand to building refugee camps, this year instead we have been assisting with pop up hospitals, test centres and morgues. Essential work of this sort has certainly benefited the major plant hire companies, with integrated contracts awarded for cabins, tower lights, power generation and fuel management. Sunbelt Rentals, in particular, have benefitted from this. With something like 50 regional test sites and a further 25 satellite ones, they and their cross-hire partners have certainly been kept busy and their efforts are to be commended.

However, for many event power specialists 2020 has not been so rosy. Many of us been forced to diversify, or should I say ‘pivot’, entering new markets where opportunities to innovate and lead the charge for sustainable power management have been few and far between.

Nevertheless, I like to think that this fallow year has afforded us time for reflection, to consider the things that we are doing well whilst, at the same time, also providing opportunities to contemplate how we can improve and ameliorate our service offering. Of course, this will only be evident once we see government event restrictions relaxed, but I remain positive.

So, should we be setting loftier energy sustainability targets for future seasons – definitely! With the advent of new high storage capacity battery systems and opportunities for tapping into EV charging stations literally just round the corner, we can finally start planning for something close to the Amsterdam blueprint that will see city centre events generator free.

From all of us at Powerful Thinking, we wish you a happy Christmas and we hope to see you in field in the New Year!”

The Powerful Thinking blog first appears in the Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up for the latest news on how the Live Events community is responding to the climate crisis HERE.