| LONDON, July 3
LONDON, July 3 London's Olympics will largely be
hosted not in purpose-built stadiums but in parks and landmarks
across the city and beyond - meaning that the power needed to
run them will dwarf that of Beijing, Athens or Sydney.
As a result, London 2012 will probably be the biggest event
in the fifty-year history of Scotland-based Aggreko,
one of the world's biggest providers of temporary power, the
chief executive of the company said on Tuesday.
The use of places like Horseguards' Parade, Greenwich and
Eton as venues, as well as temporary structures such as the
hockey and basketball arenas, mean small villages of generators
driving everything from security to clocks need to be assembled
in a matter of weeks and then taken down again just as quickly.
"It's been a major stretch on us in the UK," said Aggreko
Chief Executive Rupert Soames at a briefing for journalists.
Finding the staff and logistics has been a big challenge but
should pay off, he said.
"When we get in front of other customers, we can say look
what we've done, you can have confidence in us. There's value in
Aggreko - which also powers the Superbowl in the United
States, the Glastonbury Festival in England, and the Ryder Cup
in both the U.S. and Europe - has faced plenty of challenges in
the run-up to the Games that begin later this month, and in some
cases has had to come up with innovative solutions.
Space is at such a premium at the Olympic Stadium that some
of the generators needed are floating on barges on the river
Lee, just outside the grounds.
At the Mall, which runs from Trafalagar Square to Buckingham
Palace and will be the site of speed walking, cycling and the
marathon, the contractors had to wait until the Queen's Trooping
of the Colour ceremony had ended in mid-June before descending
to transform the site.
Now the tourists have been replaced with men in hard hats
and reflector vests, putting up lighting, 122 toilet blocks,
athlete massage huts, media centres, and a beach volleyball
court with just the right kind of sand - all powered by 62
Aggreko is putting 27 million pounds ($42 million) capital
expenditure into the Olympics, to service a contract worth about
50 million pounds, and is confident that despite the risk of
fuel strikes and even - possibly - un-British heatwaves, the
power will stay on.
"This is similar to other events we do," said Soames.
"The difference in London is the scale."