Why energy storage is a win-win for Amsterdam's stadium and the electric grid

Photo credit: Amsterdam ArenA

Stadiums can be challenging to manage. They're massive facilities that are either empty or filled to capacity during events. And many weren't designed and built with the instrumentation and control systems facilities operators need to fine tune how they manage power consumption. Amsterdam's Johan Cruijff ArenA, the city's major stadium, is a very good example of a collaborative effort to greatly improve the stadium's energy efficiency and reliability with an innovative energy storage system. For cities evaluating upgrades for stadiums or other large facilities, Amsterdam's ArenA project may be an approach they will want to consider. Yes, it's a sizeable investment but it can yield long-term benefits for the surrounding community and the stability of the electric grid. — Doug Peeples


It's billed as the largest European energy storage system employing 'second life' and new electric vehicle batteries in a commercial facility. However, the impact of the Amsterdam arena upgrade is far more than that.

With the recent completion of a 3 MW energy storage system, the arena now has a far more reliable and efficient energy supply. The project has been a collaboration between the arena, The Mobility House, Nissan, the Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund, Interreg and Council Associate Partner Eaton, which designed the energy storage system specifically for the Johan Cruijff venue.

"Thanks to the energy storage system, the stadium will be able to use its own sustainable energy more intelligently and, as Amsterdam Energy ArenA BV, it can trade in the batteries' available storage capacity," said Henk can Raan, director of innovation for the arena. The ArenA is assured of a considerable amount of power, even during an outage. As a result, the stadium will contribute to a stable Dutch energy grid."

The stadium project and Amsterdam Energy ArenA BV (its associated company) are the results of an innovation program managed by the Amsterdam Innovation Arena which is using the stadium and neighboring area as a test bed for new concepts and developments in stadium construction, management and related areas. Innovation Arena partners include Council Global Lead Partners Microsoft and Huawei, Amsterdam Smart City, the Amsterdam City Council and others.

In addition to providing a reliable, efficient energy storage network, Eaton was able to design the system so the EV battery modules and other components fit in with the stadium's existing infrastructure.

Benefits for the surrounding community
The stadium's storage network capabilities also will benefit the city as well as the stadium in a number of ways by providing back-up power, which will also reduce the need to use diesel generators if a power outage occurs at the stadium. Also, demand on the electric grid during events will be reduced which will contribute to balancing the grid's power supply and enhance grid safety and resilience.

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.