Case Study

Renewable Energy – Time for sport to commit?

As Europe scrambles to reduce its reliance on Russia’s oil and gas, the EU is pressing for a speedier transition to sustainable sources of energy.

Last week’s Commission proposal focused on fast tracking renewable energy projects, with particular emphasis on rooftop solar power (this could meet an estimated 25% of the bloc’s electricity needs).

Sport and renewable energy

Given that increasing numbers of sports are using 100% renewable energy to power their venues and operations, is this the opportunity for sport to make its widest transition to ‘clean’ energy?

Choosing this path will not only help decarbonise but build a faster return on investment and greater energy security.

How to approach?

Professional sports are producing to their needs on site, buying (and storing) 100% renewable energy, or collaborating with a third party for access.

Taking its lead from the US’s green stadium movement, European venues are innovating for sustainability:

  • The Netherlands’ national stadium, Johan Cruijff Arena holds over 4,000 solar panels and combines with a system of new and used electric vehicle batteries. The venue can power 7,000 local houses for one hour.
  • In the UK, Lord’s cricket ground sources all of its energy from an offshore local wind farm. This has helped the ground reduce its carbon footprint by 80%.
  • Arsenal became the first UK football team to install large battery energy storage. Buying 100% renewable energy from Octopus Energy, the battery saves money and generates income via spare capacity to the grid.
  • In Ireland, as an extension of Pinergy’s supply of 100% renewable electricity to its Thomond Park and Musgrave Park venues, Munster Rugby recently agreed a 10-year partnership for a 400 kW peak solar installation at Musgrave.

Smaller scale/community

Pursuing clean energy is possible through manageable capital expenditure, access to funding and smarter choices.

Shoreham FC, England’s sustainability-focused amateur football club, sources 100% renewable energy through its supplier, Octopus Energy.

Prominent Irish GAA clubs like Louth’s Clan na Gael are champions of community-led investment in cleaner energy and its benefits. 

With its annual energy and maintenance savings (@€10,000 per annum) and @70% reduced GHG emissions, this shows how sports clubs at all levels can enjoy a similar upside. Benefitting bottom line, people and planet.

Ireland’s newly approved Micro-generation Support Scheme (MSS) will offer incentive for sports clubs, amongst a range of businesses, to be paid for excess renewable energy produced. A welcome development and indicative of the direction that sport can take.

Want to know more?

To learn more about the opportunity for sport to transition to renewable energy, get in touch with us at