Tag Archives: Powerful Thinking

Greening Green Park for the Platinum Jubilee

In his guest blog, Chair of Powerful Thinking, Tim Benson, shares how the collaboration between SMART Power, Power Logistics and the BBC Events Team on power provision for the Platinum Jubilee supported a saving of over £10,500.00 in fuel spend. 

Tim shares how the teams worked together to specify a power management system capable of dealing with the Jubilee’s variable demand over a protracted period, whilst meeting the BBC’s sustainability aspirations. Learn how they dealt with periods of low energy demand efficiently and employed battery power to achieve the impressive reduction in fuel use:

“2022 marked Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, with an extended May bank holiday weekend of concerts outside of Buckingham Palace. Billed as the ‘Platinum Party at the Palace’, it featured an unusually diverse range of artists, including Diana Ross, Queen, Elbow, Sirs Elton John & Rod Stewart, Duran Duran and George Ezra.

The Production HQ was located in a pop-up compound in Green Park, which remained operative for a month. It comprised of all the usual facilities; accreditation and security cabins, copious production offices, field kitchens for crew and talent, dining tents, workshops, dressing rooms, green room tents and toilets. Whilst some of these were in use from day one, many of them would not come into their own until much closer to the show day. This presented a unique challenge – how to specify a power management system that could deal with such variable demand over a protracted period, whilst meeting the BBC’s lofty sustainability aspirations.

The incumbent power contractor, Power Logistics, had already negotiated a keen per litre price for HVO, which was a great start. They also introduced a single power node to the compound, comprising of four 100kVA generators configured in load demand. For those of you not familiar with this sync configuration, the primary generator (referred to as the priority 1 set) runs the whole time; when it reaches a pre-programmed load threshold, typically between 60 – 80% of its total generation capacity, it auto-starts the next unit in the chain (the priority 2 set) and then the next and so on. Conversely, as the demand drops, the priority 4, 3 and 2 units automatically ramp off, ultimately leaving just the primary unit running. This is the most economical sync configuration available for diesel gensets, yet it fails to address the age-old problem of those periods where demand is well under the total generation capacity of the primary engine, in this case between 60 – 80kW.

So, under the direction of the BBC Events Team and Steve Nolan (Production Manager), began a collaboration between SMART Power and Power Logistics to optimise the production compound power. The plan was to introduce a large-scale battery system (250kVA / 280kWh) in lieu of the primary 1 generator. SMART Power undertook a power audit and mapped out the load profile. Based on their

estimates, they proposed a reverse hybrid configuration for the battery system, whereby the unit managed the load and the generators were only called upon when the batteries needed recharging. SMART Power concluded that this could reduce generator runtimes by up to 35%.

The trial was a great success, with an average battery system versus generator runtime ratio of 57.7%: 42.3%. During week two of the build and towards the end of the de-rig, this rose to 69% : 31%. In total, the battery unit exported 19,380kWh over the 16.5 days it was operational and achieved an aggregated fuel saving of circa 5,400L, which monetized equates to over £10,500.00 reduction in fuel spend.  The site load varied between 30 – 229kW peak and, when charging, the system always ensured that the generators targeted the load and only used their surplus for topping up the lithium cells.

This project also yielded some important learnings. Whilst attention had been paid to the generator ramp on rates for recharging (circa 1kW / second), the ramp off was far too quick and needed to be adjusted remotely to protect the alternators.

These sorts of collaborations are too few and far between for my liking and should be encouraged more by event organisers seeking to capitalise on the ever-growing range of clean-tech power solutions available to them.”

This guest blog originally appeared in the November 2022 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox www.vision2025.org.uk 

FestivalVision2025 members event 2018 at The Showman's Show

Vision:2025 at The Showman’s Show 2018 – Full Programme Released

The power of festival industry communities to work together to create more sustainable events takes centre stage at the Vision:2025 annual conference at The Showman’s Show on October 17th 2018.

We’re pleased to announce the full programme; which represents the great support for Vision:2025 and the move towards sustainable events from festival industry organisations & communities, green-minded suppliers with progressive products & approaches, and experts with the skills and knowledge to tackle the ‘in the field issues’ of Vision:2025 members.

Download PROGRAMME PDF or see below.

Vision:2025 festival can REGISTER HERE. Festivals that have not signed the Vision:2025 pledge but would like to attend can become a member at festivalvision2025.net.

With many thanks to The Showman’s Show for hosting, our event partner, TheTicketSellers & Eventree for covering the costs of the Vision:2025 gathering, to Purity Ales for providing the networking drinks and to Enviro-cup for the serve ware.

Vision:2025 at The Showman’s Show Programme 
Wednesday 17th October, 2018

13.00               Arrivals & Welcome: Johnny Lance (The Showman’s Show) &
                          Graham Brown (Powerful Thinking/Plaster PR)

13:05               Festival Vision: 2025 Update: Bethan Riach (Powerful Thinking)

13:10               Keynote: Paul Reed (CEO, Association of Independent Festivals):
The power  of festival communities and collaboration to catalyse change.

13: 25              Progressive Power & Energy Session

  • Lloyd Lawson (S2VS): Electric vehicle charging for events
  • Matt Collins (ide Systems): Next generation remote monitoring systems
  • Robert Miles (Immersa): Is battery storage the future?
  • Tim Benson (Smart Power Ltd) How to plan for Smarter Power at events
  • Laura Pando (Julie’s Bicycle)Biofuel sourcing made simple

14:25               Festival Focus’ Panel + Q&A —Steve Heap (AFO) talks to event organisers        about the challenges of tackling environmental impacts and the initiatives that worked in 2018. With panel guests:  Joe Buirski (Fire in the Mountain), Mary Corfield (Greenbelt) & Chris Johnson (Shambala Festival).

14.55               Tea & coffee break

15:10               The Showman’s Show Green Supplier Award:  YOUR VOTE COUNTS. Three shortlisted suppliers pitch their innovations to the audience and panel of judges:  Paul Reed (AIF), Laura Pando (Julie’s Bicycle), Steve Heap (AFO) and Liz Warwick (Lansdowne Warwick/Cambridge Folk Festival)

With suppliers: Enviro-cup (Russell Blakey), RAW Foundation (Hannah Jolliffe) and MSS International (Jack Beerens)

15.25               ‘A Toast to the Future’ Panel + Q&A: Host Andy Fryers (Hay Festival) talks to   guests about how festivals can cut bar waste & get audiences drinking sustainably. With guests:  Alex Hopkins (Green Goblet), Colin Eade (Bespoke Event Bars) and Nick Beck (Borough Wines).

16.00              Key Topic ‘Roundtable’ Discussions: (4 rotating groups with 15 min a topic)

  • Power: Tenders, contracts & process: The nitty-gritty that will save you ££s with Tim Benson (Smart Power/ZAP Concepts)
  • Waste Plastics – All you need to know about sustainable cup options with Chris Johnson (Shambala Festival).
  • Let’s Talk Toilets: understand the impacts of toilet waste at events & discuss solutions to common issues with Virginia Gardiner (Loowatt) & guest supplier Compoost.
  • Tackling Travel Impacts: Measuring & reducing impacts of audience, crew and supplier travel with host Liz Warwick (Lansdowne Warwick/Cambridge Folk Festival) and guest supplier Tuned in Travel.

17.00               ‘Join us’ session: Building communities of change with:

  • Julie’s Bicycle & Vision: 2025 (Laura Pando, Julie’s Bicycle)
  • 8th Plate – festival food surplus scheme (Mark Laurie, NCASS)
  • Energy Revolution & The Ticketsellers ( Bethan Riach/Mo Jones )

17:15              Networking Drinks: Introduction to ethical brewing from Purity Ales & carry on the conversations over a beer.

17:45             Ends

With many thanks to The Showman’s Show for hosting, our event partner, TheTicketSellers & Eventree for covering the costs of the Vision:2025 gathering, to Purity Ales for providing the networking drinks and to Enviro-cup for the serve ware.

Take the Industry Green Survey 2017

Festival organisers can help Powerful Thinking track industry progress on the journey towards a more sustainable future by filling out the annual Industry Green Survey.


The survey is anonymous and will only take 5 minutes. The results allow the Powerful Thinking Steering Group to understand the challenges festival organisers faced in 2017 and to shape support and resources to move toward more sustainable practices.

Thanks to A Greener Festival all entrants will be entered into a prize draw to win a free delegate pass to The Greener Events & Innovations Conference in March 2018! 

Please complete the survey before 22nd Dec 2017. Winners will be announced in Jan 2018.

Photo credit: Louise Roberts for Shambala festival 

The Power to Choose at The AFO Conference

Energy efficiency took centre stage at the annual AFO conference on the 10-12th November in Stratford-upon-Avon. In a panel focused on power at events, chaired by Andy Lenthall (Production Services Association and Powerful Thinking), Alastair Gregson (Powerline), Barry Hughes (Hybrid Power Hire), and Tim Benson (ZAP Concepts) discussed the changing business landscape and technology.

Andy Lenthall reflected; “We are at a tipping point [as an industry] where, if people are up to speed with the choices they have, we will see efficiencies driven by smarter planning and use of lower emission alternatives. The commercial incentives are now very real.”

To help event organisers make smart choices about their power contracts Powerful Thinking have created a list of suppliers who will work with events towards their energy efficiency goals:


Vision:2025 Festivals in the Press: Access All Areas

Meaningful Hedonism: “Collaboration is key to fulfilling the Festival Vision 2025 Pledge and we’re keen to keep proving that meaningful hedonism and environmental ethics can go hand-in-hand.”

For its June edition Access All Areas Magazine headed to Swingamajig to talk to Chris Johnson, Chair of Powerful Thinking, about sustainability at Swingamajig and Shambala Festival, and how projects Energy Revolution, Powerful Thinking and Festival Vision: 2025 are working to build communities of festivals, audiences and suppliers committed to working together to create positive change and a more environmentally sustainable festival industry.

Read the full article at Access All Areas.

Event Sustainability Are you Ready? Article in Connections BVEP magazine


Alex Lepingwell, council member of the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) and MD of Green Stewards, writes about the move towards environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility in business and the need for the currently unlegislated festival industry to take up to the challenge of creating a more sustainable future, in Connections, Business Visits and Events Partnerships (BVEP) Magazine.

Alex advocates NOEA members taking small incremental steps towards building in sustainable management processes in all areas of their business and talk about NOEA’s work with Powerful Thinking to help build these management systems.

Extract below and full article on p. 15 of BVEP magazine Spring 2016 edition.

“Currently there is no legislation in our industry demanding sustainable business practices, but it is not inconceivable that there will be in the near future. For most of us, that will be a serious challenge. Imagine health and safety regulations on steroids. What we need to do is start preparing now. Small, incremental, achievable steps across a range of areas that will allow us all to build in sustainable management practices over time. Much in the same way as we take sensible health and safety practice for granted these days, companies who don’t have sustainable procurement, closed loop product life cycle and energy ef ciency policies will stick out like sore thumbs.

To help our members with the building blocks of sustainable management systems, The National Outdoor Events Association is 
proud to announce that it will be working with Powerful Thinking. The industry led think tank that produced The Power Behind Festivals, an incredibly detailed and well-researched paper on energy use in the industry with practical advice on how best to manage energy sustainably. The Show Must Go On is its latest report looking at a much wider range of sustainability issues faced by the event industry. This report also launches The Festival Vision 2025 Pledge, aiming to get all festivals to halve their green house gas emissions by 2025.

Our industry has to take sustainability seriously, not for fear of legislation, loss
of market share or even the increased efficiencies it will show. We have to do it because we owe it to our children, their children and the generations to come. It really is that serious.”