Arsenal claims first with Emirates Stadium initiative

English Premier League football club Arsenal has furthered its sustainability drive by installing the largest battery storage system (BSS) at a UK sports venue.

The system, developed by UK-based Pivot Power and funded with investment from Downing LLP, can store enough electricity to run Arsenal’s 60,000-seat Emirates Stadium for an entire match. This is the equivalent of powering 2,700 homes for two hours.

The installation comes on the back of Arsenal’s commitment to green energy following its partnership 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.

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.

Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “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. We have been powered by green energy since 2016 thanks to Octopus Energy, and the battery storage system will support our efforts further.”

The initiative 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 like 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 (FFR) contract from the National Grid. 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 LLP and Arsenal.

Pivot Power chief executive Matt Allen said: “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. 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.”

Arsenal was the first Premier League club to switch to 100% green electricity, supplied by a network of solar farms and anaerobic digestion plants. Since partnering with Octopus Energy 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 has installed LED floodlights which 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, plan to go beyond cutting costs and carbon at the Emirates and are working on a joint project to increase global access to energy. Details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Image: Arsenal