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Chelsea FC fails to hit stadium redevelopment carbon reduction requirements

Chelsea received planning permission for the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge last week. Image: Herzog & De Meuron.

Chelsea received planning permission for the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge last week. Image: Herzog & De Meuron.

Chelsea Football Club will be forced to pay for local decarbonisation efforts after its stadium redevelopment plans failed to include renewables capable of meeting tough London targets.

A document drawn up on behalf of the club last year ruled out several technologies as being unsuitable for the new Stamford Bridge plans. The plans will now only be capable of delivering carbon reductions of just under 12%, short of the London Plan target of 35%.

The Times reported last Friday that Chelsea had been warned by the Mayor’s Office last year, when Boris Johnson was still in the position, that the football club had failed to include renewable energy generation technologies in its Stamford Bridge redevelopment plans.

But in July last year the club presented a revised energy strategy to Hammersmith and Fulham Council, revealing that it would now be installing a combined heat and power (CHP) generator on the site during its refurbishment.

It ruled out several technologies, including solar PV and wind turbines, as being unsuitable given the design of the stadium. In particular solar PV was ruled out because of the construction “piers” which make up its roof design, which the energy strategy said would create shading across the face of the panels.

The document, which Chelsea collaborated with engineering consultancy ME Engineers on, supersedes the previous document submitted in November 2015 and concludes that CHP would “increase carbon reduction compared to passive measures” already involved in the plans, including thermally enclosed areas.

ME Engineers used the stadium’s projected base heating load to determine the ideal size of any CHP generator, based around it operating for 14 hours each day. Daily demand was determined to be 1,948.92kWh per day. Any CHP system would also be expected to run for at least 5,110 hours each year to ensure its financial feasibility.

Chelsea FC eventually settled on a CHP engine size of 161kW thermal/90kW electrical.

The energy strategy document states that this system is expected to save more than 133 tonnes of CO2 each year, equivalent to around 7% of the stadium’s total carbon emissions. Combined with thermally enclosed areas already established, its emissions related to electricity and heat demand would fall by nearly 12%.

However despite the addition of CHP to complement other energy efficiency measures such as LED bulbs and a lighting management system, the stadium plans would fall substantially short of the 35% mandated in the London Plan for new developments.

Financial contributions will therefore have to be made to a local fund to help reduce CO2 emissions off-site, which Chelsea FC acknowledged in the conclusion of its strategy document.

The letter came about just as Chelsea received planning permission for its redevelopment plans, pending final approval from the Mayor’s Office. Mayor Sadiq Khan must now announce within 14 days of permission being granted whether the plans are to be approved, rejected or organise a public enquiry which he would chair himself.

Clean Energy News contacted Chelsea for comment on the issue, but the football club has yet to respond.