Welcome back to the rejuvenated blog of Aetna Corp.!
It’s that time of the year, again: game time! Our first blog post of 2014 explores the energy consumption of a colossal sports complex such as the MetLife Stadium, where Super Bowl XLVIII will be played this Sunday, February 2 at 6:30 PM.
Since the New England Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, January 16, is it even worth it to us to watch Super Bowl XLVIII? Should anyone on the horribly freezing and snow-dusted East Coast tune in for the whole hoopla that will be the Mountain West Seattle Seahawks versus the West Coast Denver Broncos and, the reason why most of America watches the big game, Bruno Mars’s (surely shudder-worthy) half-time show?
Then again, maybe it will all be worth it for us here at Aetna Corp., just for the slim chance that the lights of MetLife Stadium will go out again. And it’s not just what happened at Super Bowl XLVII that we’re talking about. On November 14, 2010, before subsidization when Met Life Stadium became New Meadowlands Stadium, the lights shut off twice in 11 minutes during the third quarter of a Giants/Dallas Cowboys game.
We say “slim” chance because they’ve been testing the heck out of the system, burdening it with the electrical load it’s estimated that game day will consume.
We all remember February 3, 2013, when all of a sudden, minutes into the second half of Super Bowl XLVII in which the Baltimore Ravens succeeded over the San Francisco 49ers to a 34-31 victory, darkness fell.
The utility company that supplied energy to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Entergy, said the outage was not their fault (they claimed they kept the Superdome supplied with power the whole time), but was caused by an “abnormality” in the system: Equipment that was monitoring the electrical load noticed it and opened a breaker. This partially cut power (some backup lighting was still on in the colossal black-hole of a stadium, where most fans in their seats were eerily hidden from us at home) and kicked on a backup generator.
So how much energy does a Super Bowl consume, anyway? The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium allegedly uses more than three times more energy at peak consumption on game day than the national grid of Liberia can support! That’s around 10 megawatts of energy, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This year, the utility company Public Service Electric & Gas Co. will not only be supplying to MetLife Stadium, but also a racetrack hosting 10,000 raucous tailgaters. PSE&G officials anticipate that MetLife will pull 18 megawatts of power, which could supply 12,000 homes. PSE&G will feed in 12 megawatts, and generators will supply the other 6.
18 megawatts – that’s more than what we’ve criticized the Cowboys for using. It all sounds a little decadent, a little environmentally irresponsible, no? Then again, we’d expect nothing less from American football. And it’s not nothing that PSE&G and the NFL are doing to offset the energy they’ll use to make 2014’s Super Bowl XLVIII possible.
NJ.com reported back in 2013 that PSE&G “announced it had partnered with the National Football League to spark green energy investment by purchasing and retiring one renewable energy certificate for every megawatt hour of electricity used at Super Bowl-related venues.” And what is a renewable energy certificate, or REC? One REC is equal to 1000 KWh of energy, or roughly what an average single-family home would use in a month. If you buy an REC, you’re financing renewable energy generators, which supply the electric grid with energy that’s sustainably sourced – and for that reason, you’re also reducing your carbon footprint and aiding in the fight against global warming. Way to go, NFL – you “non-profit” organization boasting 15 (almost 16) teams Forbes estimates to be worth more than a billion dollars.
So, of course we’re all going to watch Super Bowl XLVIII – not only because it’s what everybody will be doing this Sunday – but also, there’s so much energy being used behind the scenes, it’s crazy! Make sure, whenever the cameras pan the painted, ecstatic faces of the crowd, you thank the resources used to provide 18 megawatts of energy illuminating all those Seahawks and Broncos fans.
For more information about energy and Super Bowl XLVIII, to be played in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, check out this other great article at NJ.com. And make sure you check back here for more industry-related news, and to see what’s going on at Aetna Corp.! We’re always up to something, whether it be maximizing your energy savings in the field, or eating wings at home on game day.