Tivoli Gardens: the world's first amusement park powered by wind?

Warning: this post contains Christmas sentimentality

On arriving in Copenhagen this afternoon, I supported the local economy and had my Christmas fix at the same time, by going to the beautiful Tivoli Gardens. What a win-win! Think: hot, traditional gluwein and apple dumplings dipped in jam and icing sugar, traditional Christmas cottages selling pricey Danish designer stuff, ridiculous rollercoasters and serious crowds (apparently due to COP 15)...

The lights were spectacular and put me in a lovely Yuletide mood, but it made me cringe to think what this wonderful cultural (tourist!) experience was kicking out in terms of CO2 and heat. My friend and guide, the lovely Chrystel, said she thought parts of Tivoli were powered by wind... and in fact all of it is. Using 8.5 million KwH of electricity per year, I'd hope so! Glad they clarify that they can't guarantee that the 'juice' that Tivoli uses comes from renewable sources: they're just adding the energy from the Avedøre wind turbines into the mix that makes up the Danish national grid. More info here.

Slightly amusing, from a British perspective, that the energy company is called DONG... but smirking aside, the "climate partnership" of Dong and Tivoli have obviously realised that green = a good branding opportunity (one of the turbines is even being branded "Tivoli"), and a chance to demonstrate leadership: "..a number of communication initiatives will be launched in the coming years in addition to a joint annual branding campaign that may inspire others to take similar action" . This is an interesting example, like Arcola Theatre's energy incubator , of using a cultural venue to trial new renewable technologies, and then communicate about them. Clever.

I also found some information about some measures taken to improve Tivoli's environmental impact at the Visit Copenhagen website. The red plastic-cup-recycling machines were particularly fun. I was delighted to see Danes queuing to get their 5 krone! (you get 5 kroner back for each cup). I'm glad that some tourist organisations have figured out - duh - the link between the sustainability of events and their subject matter. I just don't understand why more organisations have not cottoned on to the issue of reputational risk - how many conferences on renewable energy, for example, are managing their sustainability impacts?

Congratulations to the Tivoli management, and more of the same, please!

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Comment by Amy Kweskin on December 6, 2009 at 18:02
Speaking of redemption on cups, here in the US there is an added fee of .5 to .10 cents paid by customers on many beverages sold in containers. The homeless, in particular, rummage through bins to collect discarded bottles and cans in order to squeak out a living on the redemption values.

An interesting twist here in California is that the State, in a budget-cutting effort, has closed down redemption centres - and with it "green jobs" have been lost. Additionally, it is now more difficult to redeem bottles and cans, ultimately impacting an entire "recycle ecosystem" of homeless people who were the heart of the "green workers" brigade. Read about the story here.

This photo is from the LA Times.

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