Sunrise: Another Word – the world’s first festival micronation – sets new standard in renewable festival power
Leading pioneers in sustainable festival production, Sunrise: Another World – the latest incarnation of Sunrise Celebration festival – will be the first UK music festival to use a smart grid site-wide to generate a renewable power supply for their event at Wiltshire’s Thoulstone Park next weekend, Thursday 30th May till 2nd June. The new technology is expected to revolutionise the way festivals and outdoor events are powered.
Fittingly, the innovative smart grid technology will help Sunrise launch and power up their fledgling festival micronation at Thoulstone Park – a makeshift Utopia, billed as a free state, independent of world governments, which has its own ethical principles and aims to create a more sustainable and socially just vision for society – seeded within the micronation and then filtering out into the wider world.
The new smart grid integrated power system for Sunrise has been developed in collaboration with energy companies Firefly Solar, Green Heart Energy and ABB Power and will be monitored by De Montford University. It brings together high-spec battery technology with more traditional waste vegetable oil generators and a combination of solar and wind power, to create a site-wide power system that is energy efficient and low impact.
“Firefly Solar have developed a new product, the Cygnus Hybrid Power Generator, for use at Sunrise this year,” explains Andy Mead, Managing Director of Firefly Solar, “which will deploy standalone solar power generators to power both front of house entertainment areas as well as back of house infra requirements. And we are also deploying hybrid power systems which reduce the fuel consumption of biodiesel generators using intelligent power management to switch demand between battery and biodiesel generator access load. Where loads are too high for hybrid standalone generators, we will use full 100% vegetable oil biodiesel to make it carbon neutral.
“Furthermore,” continues Andy, “in a groundbreaking collaboration with Green Heart Energy and ABB Power, we have found a way to integrate large scale solar arrays designed for grid applications within a temporary power environment. This collaboration is laying the foundations to take smart grid technology into the temporary power market. Sunrise is pioneering smart grids in the festival circuit. This year’s Sunrise festival will be a test case event and we can then develop and fine tune the technology in future years at other festivals. While a few festivals use smart grid technology for specific smaller areas of their sites, Sunrise will be the only festival to use it site wide.”
“This new system of power is set to revolutionise power provision at festivals,” says Alex Lepingwell Director of Sunrise, “and we’re proud to be pioneering this new approach and technology which will hugely help to conserve energy waste at outdoor events in the UK. Sunrise will also be carrying out thorough monitoring of the power systems onsite this year, teaming up with De Montford University to introduce real academic rigour into their testing and published results.”
Professor Paul Flemming, Director of the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University explains: “At Sunrise this year, we will be able to measure the energy supply and demand on a minute by minute basis. We will also be talking to the main users of electricity (traders, stages and other site infrastructure), about how they use electricity. We will be asking them whether they can use more electricity when the sun shines and less electricity at night, for example. Are they prepared to use less electricity? Will they be able to reduce their electricity use at certain times of the day? Could they increase their electricity use when it is very sunny?
“Combining the recorded electricity supply and demand data with our discussions with people who actually use the electricity will help us understand how we can reduce electricity consumption at festivals in future years. It will help us to identify how to meet this reduced electricity demand from renewable energy, with battery storage and also to supply more electricity when it is available and less when is not. In essence, operating a smart grid.”
Aside from conserving energy waste, other primary sustainability goals at Sunrise this year include reducing disposable plastic bottle use; increasing sustainable transport options and recycling; reducing waste; and, with an eye on the future – continuing to raise money for environmental projects and to invest in renewable energy technologies. Sunrise also aims to be a truly sustainable festival, building a strong and resilient festival community grounded both in the local area and the micronation community through the innovative Sunrise Online Moot, demonstrating sustainability principles across all areas of production and delivery.
Global Live Streaming
Sunrise directors Alex Lepingwell and Daniel Hurring are appealing for crowd funding for Global Live Streaming at Sunrise festival so they can forge diplomatic relations with other like minded organisations around the world, beaming them in to the fields of Sunrise via live stream at the event. Watch their video appeal: http://bloomvc.com/project/crowdfunding-live-streaming-at-Sunrise-Another-World