Burges Salmon advises Downing LLP on battery-powered Emirates Stadium

Arsenal invests in 3MW battery to support UK’s low carbon plans

26 November 2018

Burges Salmon has advised funders Downing LLP and project developer Pivot Power on the installation of a behind-the-meter battery storage system (BSS) at Emirates Stadium.  The battery will store enough energy to run Emirates Stadium from kick-off to full time on match days. The 3MW/3.7MWh BSS, the first at a UK football club and one of the largest at any sports ground in the world, will bring immediate benefits to the club, cutting electricity bills and supporting a low-carbon grid.
 
Burges Salmon, as one of the market leaders in energy, fielded a team led by partner Ross Fairley and advised on all legal aspects of the project. The firm also worked with the other key stakeholders in the project including Arsenal and Octopus Energy – Arsenal’s official energy partner and electricity supplier. Baringa Partners completed the line-up of parties working together to get the deal done, acting as advisers on the commercial model, and Open Energi, which will be supporting in the management of the battery.
 
Ross Fairley comments: “This is a great project to have worked on and we hope it will signal more stadia projects. One of the main challenges for behind-the-meter storage is that, although battery storage is well understood, the host has to be persuaded that it is going to work for them and not interfere with their day-to-day operations. So, assurances had to be given that it would work properly and ensure there was minimum disruption when people were on site for installation. There were quite a lot of learning exercises to go through to get everyone comfortable.”
 
Pivot Power has installed a 2MW/2.5MWh lithium ion BSS in the basement of the stadium, with funds managed by Downing LLP. It will go live this November with a further 1MW/1.2MWh of storage to be added in summer 2019.
 
The BSS is the latest development in the club’s sustainability programme. 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 signing the contract with Octopus Energy last year, the club has cut its carbon footprint by 7 million kilogrammes, equivalent to filling the Emirates Stadium more than 3.9 times.
 
Mehal Shah, Investment Manager at Downing LLP, says: “This transaction was complicated not least because of the regulatory uncertainty and challenging market conditions. Burges Salmon played a key role as we adapted the business model. Ross and his team brought insights and financial nous to the table, with a strength in depth of knowledge not only at partner level but across the board.  They brought everyone together nicely for a complex deal.”
 
Minister for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry, commented following the battery’s unveiling: “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. 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.” 

Key contact

Ross Fairley

Ross Fairley Partner

  • Energy, Power and Utilities
  • Head of Renewable Energy
  • Environment

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