Revealed: The mammoth amount of power a prehistoric park would need

Dinosaur Kingdom - E.ON
Posted 04/06/2018 by E.ON

The idea of creating a theme park that features living, breathing dinosaurs free to roam and behave as they would a hundred million years ago is a fascinating thought. 

Imagine seeing first-hand the beauty of a lumbering Diplodocus or the thrill of seeing a Velociraptor hunt its prey (as long as it’s not you). 

Of course, there would be a few obstacles to overcome to get your dream dinosaur theme park built (for one, planning permission would be a nightmare). But once it was up and running, it would be a magical place for both children and grown-ups alike, bringing back to life some of the world’s most stunning creatures.

Dinosaur Kingdom Map - E.ON

We love dinosaurs, but we love energy even more. When the idea of a dinosaur theme park first came up, just one question needed answering:

How much electricity would we need to power a fictional dinosaur theme park? 

With the help of a team of physicists from Imperial College London, we’ve calculated how much energy our Dinosaur Kingdom would need, from the aviary and aquarium to the hotel and restaurant. You may be surprised by just how much it would use… 

Electric Fencing - Dinosaur Kingdom - E.ON

Electric Fencing

First off, the entire park would need an electrified perimeter fence to keep all the prehistoric creatures on the island. Scaling up a standard electric fence used for farm animals, this would cost £815.58 every year. 

Then, to prevent the dinosaurs from fighting and cannibalisation, you’d need fencing for individual paddocks. This comes out as £181.20 per year. 

The cost of keeping all those carnivores well fed with goats, sheep and - for a quick snack - some chickens, also needs to be added. We estimate it’d be around £78.87 per year to run a meat freezer large enough for a 30-day supply of dinosaur fodder.

Aquarium - Dinosaur Kingdom - E.ON

The Aquarium

Now, you might be thinking, ‘it sounds doable. We’ll just add a few quid on for car parking.’ But here’s where the costs really start to mount up. If you want to showcase the true breadth of the dinosaur species, you’ll need an aquarium – because dinosaurs weren’t just on land, remember.

The aquarium not only has to be large but it also has to be warm. The largest known hunting dinosaur - the Spinosaurus - was around 15 metres long and spent most of its time in the water. To support the semi-aquatic prehistoric giant, we need a pretty sizeable aquarium to make sure your Spinosaurus has a realistic habitat of both land and water. This would set you back £2,231,318 each year.

Aviary - Dinosaur Kingdom - E.ON

The Aviary

This may have started the financial alarm bells ringing, but what is even more expensive is an aviary. 

Keeping your winged-dinosaurs from flying to the nearest town to terrorise the public would be an expensive business – £5,006,500 per year we estimate. This is based on the amount of energy the Eden Project uses (around 9,500MkWh per year) and the size of flying dinosaurs needing five Eden Project-sized aviaries. 

Breeding Programme - Dinosaur Kingdom - E.ON

Dinosaur Breeding Programme 

Like all good zoos, safaris and fictional dinosaur theme parks, Dinosaur Kingdom would have a thorough, well-researched breeding programme, with many laboratories to freeze the embryos and incubate the eggs. Together, this is estimated to be £849.43 and £430.88 per year, respectively.

Aquarium - Dinosaur Kingdom - E.ON

Visitor Facilities

Looking after your dinosaurs and keeping your visitors safe is just one part of running an imaginary dinosaur theme park successfully. You’d need CCTV; by our calculations, it would cost you around £34,900 per year to run.

Given that you’re offering the world’s population the experience of a lifetime, you should expect tens of millions of visitors per year, all of whom would require accommodation, entertainment, food and drink. So that’d be £37,884,111 per year for a hotel and £30,039 per year for a restaurant.

Oh, and having an emergency bunker to hide in should the ferocious Velociraptors break out would cost £253 per year, too (but better to be safe than sorry!)

Transport - Dinosaur Kingdom - E.ON

Transportation

Lastly, how would the visitors get around the 77km² island? You’d need to provide some transport options. We reckon that’d set you back £276,232 every year for self-driving cars, £460,387 for gondolas, and an eye-watering £1,394,282 for a monorail - this is based on Disney’s Mark VI monorails, which use 6.37kWh per kilometre of track each and carry 300 people in one of their parks at a time.

So how much would it take?

Even with all these costs, you may still think that running a theme park full of real dinosaurs would be fantastic. But you’d better sit down for the final total. 

Taking everything into account, to power such an extraordinary park would cost a grand total of £47,972,327.13 annually, for 455,145,419 kWh of electricity*. That’s enough to power 30,142 homes or about half the homes in Harrogate for a year1. Is it any wonder that dinosaurs are still extinct?

There are a few things you could do to bring down the energy expenditure of your theme park. Cost saving solutions such as solar power and battery storage would provide your park with cheaper, sustainable and more reliable sources of power, while the dinosaurs themselves could be another source, with their droppings turned to electricity using biomass technology. Because if there’s one thing you won’t be short of, it’s dinosaur droppings.

See if you can save on your energy with us.

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Footnotes

All calculations, unless otherwise stated, were provided by PhD Physicists Toby Nonnenmacher, Clarence Wret and Wilf Shorrock, and Post-Doctorate Physicist Phill Litchfield, all at the High Energy Physics Department at Imperial College London. 

*Costs within this article have used an indicative business electricity rate/price specifically formulated for this fictional dinosaur theme park with some assumptions made in some instances. In reality, for business customers, other factors and aspects would need to be considered to give a bespoke business rate/price for each customer on a case by case basis.

1The average household consumes 15,000 kWh/year of electricity and gas, according to latest figures from Ofgem at the time of publishing this article.