When you think of green in the context of the Super Bowl most people think green in the form of the money spent. After all, a 30 second advertising spot during the game is said to cost as much as $4 million this year. And if you want to go to the games, ticket prices are running around $4,000.00 each. And, if you are lucky enough to be going to the games, you had better plan on spending extra green on some warm clothes!
A Sustainable Super Bowl
But this year, the Super Bowl’s “green” can be thought of in a totally different, non-monetary way.
The National Football League (NFL) and the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), a diversified energy company serving the MetLife Stadium and surrounding venues, have both agreed to have 100% of the electricity used during the game and the supporting events to be offset by renewable energy credits purchased that will support the New Jersey wind-power and solar projects. This makes Super Bowl XLVIII the first ever Super Bowl that is totally green.
The desired effect of this agreement will be to direct revenues to clean power sources and offset the pollution created in producing the extra power needed for the games and the events leading up to it. The agreement covers a total period of four weeks: three weeks prior to and one week after the game. PSEG estimates that somewhere between 4000 to 6000 megawatt hours will be consumed during this four week period.
Renewable Energy Credits
Most states require that power companies include some form of renewable energy in their power generating portfolio. Solar, wind, geothermal or hydroelectric sources are examples. In New Jersey, by the year 2021, PSEG must have renewable energy comprise at least 22.5% of their generation fleet.
Utility companies that do not have enough of their own renewable energy generation projects or sources to meet their respective state requirements can make up the difference through purchasing renewable energy credits from companies that do generate alternative energy and have enough to spare. Each of these renewable energy credits is equivalent to one megawatt hour of energy. Credits are traded on an open market. Solar renewable energy credits sell for around $145 at current prices, while wind renewable credits sell for about $14. The price difference relates to the cost of technology used in relation to the amount of electricity produced. That being said, solar credits are much more expensive because the solar panels produce less electricity yet the technology behind these same solar panels costs more than wind turbines.
PSEG will purchase the bulk of the $100,000 worth of alternative energy credits they need to cover the Super Bowl agreement from Community Energy – the company that developed the Jersey-Atlantic Wind farm in Atlantic City. Community Energy has five 380 foot turbines all of which can generate up to 7.5 megawatts of power and will be able to supply most of the electricity PSEG needs. PSEG will also be tapping on other energy companies that produce solar power within New Jersey.
A Better New Jersey Image
Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating office of Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) - a PSEG subsidiary that operates solar farms in the state – was quoted as saying “Some people hear New Jersey and they only think of the Sopranos. Hosting the Super Bowl gives New Jersey a chance to highlight its (New Jersey’s) successes, including that it ranks near the top among states in solar installations.”
Watching the Game Sustainably
As you join the millions of viewers who will be watching Super Bowl XLVIII, the extravagant half time show, or watching the scoreboard explode with each Seattle Seahawks or Denver Broncos touchdown, know that it was done in a sustainable way.
Super Bowl XLVIII is truly an environmentally friendly green event worthy to kick in 2014. As you watch the game on February 2, think about what you can do in your own home to make it greener. Maybe now you will be inspired to change out those old incandescent bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent or LED lighting.
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