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The NFL’s Eagles to be energy independent next season

The Philadelphia Eagles have announced plans to become the NFL’s first franchise to play in a fully energy independent stadium. The Eagles organization announced yesterday that it plans to re-outfit Lincoln Financial Field with a number of green energy technologies over the next 12 months in an effort that will please both environmentalists as well as the team’s accounting department.

According to team officials, Lincoln Financial Field will become the first major stadium to operate completely through its own energy infrastructure. And that’s not just among NFL stadiums, the Eagles say that applies to all major sports stadiums throughout the world as well.

Officials say that a combination of solar panels, wind turbines and a co-generation plant — powered by natural gas and diesel fuel — will end up saving the franchise over $60 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.  The plan calls for about 70 percent of the stadium’s total power to be generated by the co-generation plant with wind and solar splitting the remaining 30 percent.

The effort is the result of partnership between the Eagles and renewable energy company Solar Blue. After investing $30 million of its own money, Solar Blue will operate the stadium’s energy system for a period of 20 years after which control will go over to the Eagles organization. One big perk for the Eagles: after they take control of the system, the Eagles will be free to sell any excess generated energy back to the grid. That could conceivably result in a good chunk of change for the Eagles considering that the team will be using the stadium for a few home games a year. Solar Blue estimates the system will generate enough energy to power about 26,000 homes annually.

The Eagles plan to have Lincoln Financial Field off the grid, and operating under its own power by Sept. 2011.