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For Norway’s biggest rock festival, Tons of Rock, Omexom dispensed with diesel generators in favour of the local power supply network. The result was improved flexibility and a reduced carbon footprint, without detracting from the music.

Tons of Rock (ToR) is Norway’s largest gathering of rock and heavy metal fans. The numbers tell you everything: 80,000 visitors attend the three-day festival held in a public park in the capital city, Oslo (population 711,000). With three days of music and everything that goes with such a large public event, ToR consumes a great deal of electrical energy. But there is little energy available in this vast green space in southeastern Oslo.

In previous years, Omexom Norway had used portable generators to power the stages and camping areas.

But for the 2023 festival, which took place from 22 to 24 June, the focus was on innovation and protecting the environment.

“We proposed a new solution to replace the diesel generators with a private high-voltage grid with a connection to the local power supply network,” explains Ove Lende, business unit manager at Omexom Norway Critical Power. “This system required the installation of a meter, several hundred metres of high-voltage cabling and four mobile transformer substations.”

Reusable temporary equipment

In total, ToR 2023 was able to use 1.5 MW from the high-voltage grid, plus another 1.25 MW drawn from two mains-voltage connections. The only fixed components required to implement this solution were a high-voltage meter and the switchover point. “The rest is installed and uninstalled each year,” state Ove Lende, business unit manager at Omexom Norway Critical Power, and Benjamin Arthur Johnson, project manager at Omexom Norway Critical Power. “That’s the four transformer substations, thousands of metres of high-voltage cables, the support pylons and their concrete bases.”

“This solution can be adapted for other events, provided there is electricity from the local network relatively close at hand”

He feels that “The biggest challenge was convincing the customer and local authorities to adopt a new solution when the previous system had worked perfectly. But the environmental aspect on a site containing so much historical interest worked in our favour. The Oslo authorities quickly understood the benefits of our proposal, including for compliance with current regulations. The customer played a decisive role in leading this change.”

Less CO2 and a smaller bill

Benjamin Arthur Johnson  explains that the Omexom solution brought real benefits for the festival’s organisers. “As well as the reduced carbon dioxide emissions from replacing the diesel with electricity from the grid, our new solution reduced the event’s operating costs, allowing it to expand and add an extra day. With the energy factored in, the overall effect on the customer’s costs was neutral, even with the extra day of the festival.”

The initiative also bore fruit for Omexom Norway itself. The business unit secured a three-year contract to supply electricity to the festival, plus two years renewable. “We are also seeing our market share increasing, with new customers coming to us looking for innovative solutions,” says Benjamin Arthur Johnson. “This solution, while devised specifically for this customer and this site, can be adapted for other events, provided there is electricity from the local network relatively close at hand.”