The show must go on – using genset engines to power rock concerts and festivals

Every summer, the Swedish municipality of Norje becomes a venue for rock bands and music fans from around the world. Sweden Rock is a renowned music festival, attracting 35,000 visitors, and some of the greatest names in rock music. Among the unsung heroes who make this event possible are a handful of gensets, powered by Volvo Penta D16 engines.

Gensets are ideal for providing necessary backup power at events

With lots of live music acts over the course of several days, Sweden Rock depends on a substantial, continuous supply of power. The light shows of the various stage performances are particularly demanding. So demanding, in fact, that the ordinary power distribution grid can only supply half the power required. However, nine 520 kWe (kilowatt-electric) gensets supply the additional electricity necessary to give the concerts their proper rock grandeur.

The combined maximum output of these gensets is 4.2 megawatts; that is enough to power more than four hundred average-sized houses. A genset is basically a diesel engine connected to a generator, where the mechanical energy from the engine is converted into electrical energy. While mostly used as a backup power source for hospitals, farms, factories and small communities, gensets are also ideal for providing electricity at cultural and sporting events as well.

Gensets Volvo Penta

Volvo Penta D16 engines combine reliability with energy-efficiency

The gensets used at Sweden Rock are equipped with Volvo Penta D16 engines, putting out 650 KVA (kilovolt-amperes, or apparent power). The festival’s production management made the conscious decision to switch to gensets powered by Volvo Penta engines several years ago. The engines’ reliability, capacity, and energy-efficiency are some of the primary reasons for this decision. ”Volvo Penta is the most stable generator engine supplier on the market, and we are very proud to have this engine at Sweden Rock”, says Pelle Åberg, head of production at the festival.

The D16 engine has a low fuel consumption, compared to most similar engines. This, in turn, ties in well with Sweden Rock’s “Live Green” philosophy, where the festival strives to minimize its environmental impact through a series of sustainable actions and solutions.

Fluctuating electricity demands require stable engines

Transmission stability is of key concern when supplying electricity to a heavily power-consuming event, plant or application. Turning on a large number of machines, devices, or lights, will likely result in a fall in electric frequency. Therefore, the backup power genset’s engine must be able to immediately compensate for this fall, and remain stable. If an engine struggles to provide adequate power for the application it is serving, the energy supply may be cut. This may result in a power outage or blackout. The D16 engines are able to handle sudden and fluctuating electricity demands, typical of a concert or light show, smoothly.

Check out our Mighty Jobs episode from Sweden Rock 2019! To read more about our Volvo Penta Power Generation engines, go to You can also read more about gensets, and how our engines are being used in forestry and the agricultural industry, here at the Volvo Penta Professional Power Blog.

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