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No more dirty diesel for Paris Olympic sites

By AFP

April 30, 2024 08:28 PM


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French sports venues preparing for this year's Paris Olympics are set to ditch their diesel generators in favour of power grid connections as part of efforts to cut the carbon emissions linked to the Games.

Though little known to most sports fans, many stadiums around the world rely on diesel generators for the power that runs their lighting, broadcast facilities and computer systems.

Seen as more reliable than regular connections to the electricity grid, the generators are also highly polluting, emitting dirty particulate matter and carbon dioxide that leads to global heating.

"An evening of (French Ligue 1) football is around 4,000 litres of diesel burned and the equivalent of 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere," said Nicolas Perrin, Paris director of the French public power grid provider, Enedis.

Powering the London Olympics in 2012 led to an estimated four million litres of diesel being burned for electricity purposes, according to the Paris 2024 organising committee.

French organisers view the new electricity connections at venues around France, including at the 80,000-capacity national stadium in northern Paris, as part of the legacy of the Games which run from July 26-August 8.

To remove the need for generators at the 42 Olympic sites and 19 Paralymic sites, Enedis has invested around 100 million euros, resulting in around 8,000 different interventions at sites around its network.

"To guarantee maximum quality, we have offered a doubling of the feed with two delivery points per site," Perrin said.

This means that "if there's a problem with the usual schema, the site will trip onto the emergency feed," he added.

Much of the Paris Olympics will take place in temporary venues around the city, but major sites such as the national stadium used for the athletics will retain their generators as a third line of defence.

"During a 100-metres of 9.58 seconds you can't allow there to be a power cut," said Damien Pillac, energy manager at Paris 2024, referring to the world record held by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

 Renewable energy 

 Paris organisers are aiming to reduce by half their carbon emissions compared with the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 edition in Rio de Janeiro.

They initially set a target equivalent to 1.58 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, but that ambition has been lowered to around 1.75 million tonnes -- the equivalent of the annual carbon footprint of a French town of 200,000 people.

All the energy supplied to the sites will be certified by national power generator EDF as being renewable.

Although it is impossible to verify the source of the electricity -- France relies on nuclear for 70 percent of its needs -- EDF will guarantee that an equivalent amount of energy used by the Games was generated from renewable sources.

"What is really pleasing is to know that all the events after the Games can do the same," Georgina Grenon, director of environmental excellence for the organising committee, told AFP in an interview earlier this year.

Thanks to the new high-capacity electricity connections installed around Paris, other events such as fashion shows or open-air concerts can also keep the generators turned off.


AFP


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