Energy Dept. hailed blacked-out Superdome before Super Bowl

Super Bowl fans and players got a surprise at this year’s game as the New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome lost power for 34 minutes, just after a stunning 108-yard kickoff return by the Baltimore Ravens and a halftime performance by Beyonce.

Ironically, the day before the big game, the Department of Energy hailed the stadium for its efforts to promote energy efficiency measures and making this year’s game the “greenest” in history.

“Embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy is having a profound impact on attracting developers and private industry in the New Orleans’ re-building efforts,” wrote John Horst, DOE public affairs specialist. “The push to re-invent this destination city contributes to making Sunday’s game the greenest in Super Bowl history.”

Shortly after halftime, the stadium suffered a power outage for 34 minutes, which started at the energy feeds that went into the stadium and back-up generators were needed to keep some of the stadium lights on.

“A piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system,” said a joint statement by Entergy New Orleans, the stadium’s power provider, and Superdome operator SMG. “Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue. … Entergy and SMG will continue to investigate the root cause of the abnormality.”

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome now features more than 26,000 LED lights on the stadium’s exterior which are designed to light up the building with animated colors, patterns and images, according to the DOE. The lighting system only draws on 10 kilowatts of electricity — equivalent to the energy use of a small home — and it is expected that the lights will not need to be replaced for many years.

The Energy Collective reports that $336 million in total went into renovating the stadium and making it more energy efficient, and that it’s estimated to generate an equivalent of $19.9 billion in revenue by the end of 2025.

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