This Steelers Fan Wishes Candlestick Park Had Fuel Cells

Dec 20, 2011 Monday Night Football is always something special with “marquee matchups”, rivalries, must –win situations, and playing under the bright lights.  Well, that is what it is supposed to be anyways.  Just before game time last night in San Francisco, a transformer blew, cutting power to Candlestick Park.  As the stadium went dark and the texts from friends at the game started pouring in I couldn’t help but wish the 49ers had some sort of grid independent power source capable to keeping those bright lights on. No other utility customer lost power, and then oddly enough there was a second brief outage about an hour later. We often talk about fuel cells as an excellent backup power, but mostly for critical or emergency power needs.  But with my jersey on, my Terrible Towel out, and snacks fresh out of the oven, last night’s game delay felt like an emergency to me.   So what if Candlestick Park had a fuel cell?  The lights would have stayed on, and fans at the stadium might have only wondered what that muffled pop in the distance was.  The inflatable helmet the 49ers run though to pump up the crowd would not have deflated into a sad pool of fabric on the ground.  The 32 television cameras filming the game would not have shut off and the game would have started on time. A fuel cell system could provide reliable, clean energy to a stadium.  Fuel cells have flexible siting, they can be indoors, outdoors, or on roofs.  Fuel cells would help teams reduce their carbon footprints, a sad side-effect of professional sports that gets little attention.  Many teams are building new stadiums, including the San Francisco 49ers.  I hope these teams consider fuel cells as part of an overall clean energy solution at new stadiums.

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