Energy Management Gets Spotlight at Super Bowl

Having the lights go out in the middle of the Super Bowl is the stuff of nightmares for energy and facility managers, but that’s exactly what happened Sunday.

Half the lights in the Superdome went out during the big game and didn’t come back on for 35 minutes.

Monday, Entergy, a Louisiana integrated power company, along with SMG, the management company of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, issued the following joint statement regarding the power outage:

“Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue.

“Backup generators kicked in immediately as designed. Entergy and SMG subsequently coordinated start up procedures, ensuring that full power was safely restored to the Superdome.

“The fault-sensing equipment activated where the Superdome equipment intersects with Entergy’s feed into the facility. There were no additional issues detected. Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality.”

Just last week, a blog posting on The Energy Collective boasted about the energy efficiency of a new LED lighting system installed on the exterior of the Superdome, in which 26,000 LED lights in 288 fixtures create a light display that can produce any color of the rainbow. When the entire system operates in a single color, it only requires about 10 kW.

After the game’s outage, companies were quick to use it as an excuse to promote their agendas.

Jeff Spence, COO and president of Innovolt, speculates the outage is just the result of an old power grid. “While the power grid is terribly dated, buildings, including sporting venues, fall victim to internal power issues, like the surge experienced and seen by millions last night,” said Spence.

Innovolt, which provides patented electronics management technology mainly in the commercial and industrial markets, says its technology helps to prevent just those kinds of service interruptions.

And Peabody Energy said the power disruption in New Orleans offered a convincing visual demonstration of the importance of coal. “The power outage in New Orleans is an echo of an award-winning advertising campaign Peabody Energy has implemented at sporting events, where the power temporarily goes out on stadium scoreboards before fans are reminded that coal fuels more power than any other fuel,” according to a Peabody statement.

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