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How Manchester City plans to power its campus sustainably

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Director of estate development at City Football Group Pete Bradshaw, pictured far left with representatives from Eaton and Nissan, has said the Etihad campus could see wind generation and energy storage added in the next phase of the site's development. Image: Eaton.

The management team behind Manchester City Football Club’s campus will focus on new energy solutions over the remaining development of the 600 acre Etihad campus according to the club’s director of estate development.

Speaking to Clean Energy News last week to launch the club’s new partnership with power technology firm Eaton, Pete Bradshaw explained that following years of work at the site, meeting its energy needs has taken centre stage.

“For the next phase of our work and our investment, the need for energy solutions is critical. We have quite a considerable amount of estate that's left to be developed; roughly speaking its two million square feet of new development over the next five to ten years,” he said.

“To move that forward, we've got to look at energy. We can't stand still and we've got choices; we can continue to build substations and plug into the grid and not really care where it comes from but I'm not sure that's the most responsible option so we keep coming back to considering what our renewable and sustainable options are.”

Bradshaw went on to explain that the club has undertaken significant levels of research in what he called “energy futures”, beginning with a consideration of solar PV for the stadium and other facilities.

However, the cost of install was too great owing to the existing roof structure not being suitable for existing mounting systems, and so alternatives have since been considered.

"We eventually came to the conclusion that the best opportunity for us is to look at wind generation. We've done a huge wind study across the site and we've got planning permission for wind on the estate although we've not executed it yet,” Bradshaw revealed.

According to planning documents lodged with Manchester City Council, the club has permission to build 2.3MW of wind capacity on the site as part of an agreement with Ecotricity.

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The roof of the Etihad Stadium (pictured) was not suitable for a solar install. Image: Image: Hikor Douglas/Flickr.

The aim, Bradshaw states, is for the Etihad campus to “get as close as we can to self-sufficiency in terms of energy”, which has already been virtually achieved for its water use owing to an 8 million litre rainwater harvesting reservoir and bore holes for potable water.

Previous efforts have already resulted in positive steps towards this goal, with 60% of the energy consumption of the campus’ City Football Academy being met by trigeneration CHP.

Bradshaw added: “We've looked over the last ten years of how we use, manage and control energy and we've renewed a whole range of our products, equipment and facilities in the stadium: switchgear, transformers, LED lighting.

“We've really worked hard at how we become much more efficient in terms of the products that we've got inside our buildings.”

As well as continuing to reduce consumption and potentially begin generating renewable energy on site, battery storage has also been discussed which eventually led to the current partnership with Eaton, which uses second life batteries from Nissan for its stationary solutions.

"Eaton clearly have a huge amount of investment in research looking at this so the right thing to do was for us to talk with them and work with Eaton for as long as we can to see if there is an actual practical solution to delivering a pretty significant industrial level battery storage system that is resilient, gives us what we want, protects our business and does what Eaton does best,” Bradshaw said.

Speaking to CEN alongside him at Manchester City’s London office, Eaton’s EMEA president for the electrical sector Frank Campbell added: “We're working on storage opportunities on the campus to deal with their desires long term.

“There's a significant amount of ongoing dialogue and work between the two companies looking at the options to help them do what they need to do in the build out of this estate."

If such a project were to go ahead, it would follow a similar install currently being finalised between Eaton and Dutch club Ajax, which is expected to result in a 4MWh commercial battery at the Amsterdam ArenA later this year.

However, this remains some years away for Manchester City, with Bradshaw stating that future projects would only be carried out “with all considerations for sustainable and viable solutions fully explored.”

“These have to be solutions for the long term, for all our campus partners, stakeholders and tenants,” he added.


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