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CES Power brings sustainability to Lollapalooza

By Steve Campbell

August 20, 2023

Photos on this page courtesy of CES Power

Several of the most popular bands in the world and 400,000 concertgoers descended on Chicago for Lollapalooza from Aug. 3-6. There to power it all was CES Power, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn.

CES Power handled the power and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and electrical distribution rental needs of the four-day festival with a new twist for 2023: an increase in sustainability. This is part of the sustainability initiative for C3 Presents and Live Nation, the event’s promoter, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their festivals by 50 percent by 2030.

CES Power’s solution is in the form of solar shade structures, increased battery storage, electric utility task vehicles (UTVs), and power monitoring and distribution to deploy power where needed while reducing the number of diesel generators. For CES Power, sustainability has always been a focal point, but Lollapalooza was the first time a full microgrid solution was implemented at a large-scale festival.

“We’re very excited to partner with our clients to achieve and exceed their sustainability goals,” says Josh Mosko, CES Power vice president of business development. “Our approach is to engineer the most efficient power solutions. We work collaboratively to provide visibility and transparency on power monitoring.”

CES Power has increased its sustainability approach with recent acquisitions of software and WiFi companies. They also launched their own division, CES Technologies, taking their sustainability efforts to the next level.

“We utilize electric UTVs, IoT (Internet of Things), telemetry, interactive mapping, drone surveys and WiFi networking. All those tools have allowed us to really dive into data and analytics and understand more of how we can move the needle on sustainability,” Mosko says.

The company has provided power and HVAC to Lollapalooza in the past, but the new approach and different equipment meant needing extra hands on deck to ensure it ran smoothly.

“With our CES Technologies division, we have a dedicated team focused on sustainability and technology products. We also work closely with our suppliers and partners who came on site to ensure everything went smoothly throughout the event,” says Sam Simmons, CES Power chief technology officer (CTO).

CES Power is already looking ahead to Lollapalooza 2024, to provide sustainable power on an even larger scale. Simmons says they can take what they learned this year and scale the process up for whatever is needed.

“Essentially there’s a lot more we can do regarding battery storage and sustainable power, so it’s on our team to come up with that equation of what’s possible. As a proof of concept, we showed that we can scale the microgrid solution by adding more battery power and solar shade structures,” he says.

To highlight their efforts at Lollapalooza, CES Power is putting together a video, case study and white paper to showcase power generation on a sustainable scale by an industry leader. The next festival where CES Power will use this sustainable approach is Austin City Limits, which takes place in October in Austin, Texas.