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Energy boost: Eagles adding wind turbines, solar to stadium

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles are taking their gridiron off the grid.

The team said Thursday that it will add wind turbines, solar panels and a cogeneration plant at Lincoln Financial Field during the next year, a combination that will make the stadium self-sufficient and let the Eagles sell some power back to the electric grid.

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Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said the plan was part of the Eagles' commitment to be a socially responsible organization.

"Owning an NFL team, I think you have an opportunity to lead the way," Lurie told The Associated Press. "It's a public building seen across the country and, sometimes, the world."

Under the plan, approximately 80 spiral-shaped wind turbines will be mounted on the stadium's roof and 2,500 solar panels attached to the stadium's facade. Together, they will contribute an estimated 30 percent to the total energy production.

An onsite "dual-fuel" cogeneration plant, a small power plant that captures its heat for increased efficiency, powered by biodiesel and natural gas will contribute the rest of the energy. The system is designed to produce at least 8.6 megawatts of power, enough to meet the stadium's peak energy use of around 7 megawatts.

The construction project will employ an estimated 200 workers over the course of the next year.

SolarBlue, an Orlando, Fla.-based renewable energy company, will pay $30 million to install and run the system for 20 years. The team will pay the firm for its power, the cost of which will increase at a fixed 3 percent annual rate.

The project is expected to be finished by September, and the team estimates it will save $60 million in energy costs.

SolarBlue is also currently working with the Boston Red Sox on an energy conservation project at Fenway Park.

No government grants were sought, but the project will benefit from renewable energy incentives, SolarBlue Chairman Lee Maher said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the Eagles have initiated a sustainability trend in the league. "The NFL is one of the most competitive clubs in the world," Goodell said. "That's because our clubs are competitive with one another."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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