Arsenal scores with smart renewable energy
December 11, 2018
British football club Arsenal has installed a smart battery storage system (BSS) that will store enough energy to run its stadium from kick-off to full time through a partnership with renewable energy company Octopus Energy and Pivot Power.
The lithium ion BSS is a UK-first project and should save the club money as it works to support the country’s low-carbon plans.
The storage system, developed by UK-based Pivot Power, can store enough electricity to run the 60,000-seat Emirates stadium for an entire match. It’s the equivalent of powering 2700 homes for two hours, more than enough time to watch the match at home. The project has been funded by investment company Downing.
The installation maintains Arsenal as a leader in sustainability in sport following its commitment to green energy with Octopus Energy in 2016. The BSS will allow Arsenal to avoid peak power prices, buying electricity when it is cheap and storing it for use when prices are high. Typically, energy can cost three times more at peak times than overnight.
The 3MW, 3.7MWh BSS, one of the largest at any sports ground in the world and the first at a UK football club, will bring Arsenal immediate benefits, cutting electricity bills and earning money by supporting a low-carbon grid. A further 1MW, 1.2MWh of storage is to be added in summer 2019.
“This is a big step forwards for us in being efficient with energy usage and it builds on our work in reducing our carbon footprint as an organisation,” said Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham. “We have been powered by green energy since 2016 thanks to Octopus Energy, and the battery storage system will support our efforts further.”
It will also enable Arsenal to make money by using the BSS to provide a range of services that will support the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy, providing flexible capacity that will help the electricity network accommodate more renewable generation and support the growth of clean technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps.
The BSS will be automatically traded and optimised by Open Energi in response to market signals and has already secured a frequency response contract from National Grid.
“Arsenal is showing how football clubs and other big power users can save money and support the UK’s climate change and clean air targets,” said Pivot Power CEO Matt Allen. “Batteries are central to creating a cost-effective, low-carbon economy and we are keen to help government, local authorities and businesses seize the opportunities they offer.”
Pivot Power has installed the BSS and will operate it for 15 years. The battery will generate income by providing services to National Grid to help it balance supply and demand, which will be shared between Pivot Power, Downing and Arsenal.
“This is a landmark deal which will make big companies and investors take notice,” said Mehal Shah, investment manager at Downing. “Battery storage is attracting growing interest from smart businesses, like Arsenal. We’re delighted to play our role in supporting both Pivot Power as developer, and Arsenal’s lead in accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy.”
Pivot Power is also developing a nationwide network of 50MW grid-scale batteries and rapid electric vehicle charging super hubs, with financial backing from Downing. It has received planning permission to install batteries on the first three of 45 planned sites connected to National Grid’s extra-high voltage transmission system at Southampton, Carlisle and Norwich.
The BSS is a further step in Arsenal’s sustainability programme. It was the first Premier League club to switch to 100% green electricity, supplied by a network of solar farms and anaerobic digestion plants. Since signing a contract with Octopus Energy in 2016 and switching to green energy last year, the club has cut its carbon footprint by seven million kilogrammes, equivalent to filling the Emirates Stadium more than 3.9 times.
“Arsenal took a lead in sustainable energy by switching to Octopus in 2016 and we have worked together to make the Emirates ever greener,” said Octopus Energy CEO Greg Jackson. “Arsenal is now the first top flight club with battery storage, allowing it to use cheap renewable energy even at peak times, and reduce the need for diesel back-up generators. Together, Octopus and Arsenal are showing the world that we can fight climate change whilst reducing energy bills. This is an investment in our planet’s future.”
Arsenal has installed LED floodlights that use 30% less electricity than conventional ones. Emirates Stadium recycles 80% of match day waste with all food waste sent to an anaerobic digestion plant where it is turned into energy to supply the club.
Arsenal, together with Octopus Energy and Pivot Power, now plans to go beyond cutting costs and carbon at the Emirates and is working on a joint project to increase global access to energy.
“The UK is certainly not being left-back on the bench, with Arsenal truly moving the goal-posts when it comes to energy efficiency at Emirates Stadium,” said Claire Perry, the UK government’s minister for energy and clean growth. “This project scores the hat-trick of tackling peak prices and storing clean energy, with the goal of selling back energy to the grid at peak times. A more flexible energy grid could save the UK billions and this kind of cutting-edge technology shows companies the potential of being part of the beautiful game of smarter energy systems.”