Stadium of light

Well, I can’t quite believe I’d ever be typing these words, but… well done Sunderland FC. The football club in the north east of England made our pages this week with ambitious plans to become the UK’s first truly net zero football club.

Now, I know what you’re saying: we’ve heard this sort of thing many times before. Net zero, blah blah blah, plant a few trees. Does this really amount to much?

Well, in Sunderland’s case I actually think it does. For the plans include a 40mW solar farm at the club’s training facility, which if successful  will feed clean renewable electricity into the UK network.

Sunderland said it is also actively exploring the potential to develop a ‘canopy solar farm’ above the car park surrounding the club’s  Stadium of Light, which will create a private electricity network for the benefit of the Club and other businesses located on the stadium site.

Further energy could also be produced from below the Stadium of Light, with the club working in collaboration with Sunderland City Council to investigate the opportunity to create a district heating system using the mine water from the disused mine on which the stadium is built.

Impressive, no? I think so. Which led me to think- surely other major sporting venues, not just in the UK but really on a global basis, should be considering similar moves? After all, many stadia are surely capable of being truly self-sufficient on an energy basis given their scale and design? 

Of course, others out there will say they are significantly down the path already. One thinks of Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, for example. Or plans by Aberdeen FC. But I’m not sure these quite match the scale and scope of Sunderland FC. 

Now, who wants to chat about the potential risks involved with such a project and the opportunity for the market to engage with such a ground-breaking series of moves?

Marcus Alcock,

Editor, Emerging Risks