Mini wind turbines are being installed by Kent-based company Alpha-311 at the O2 Arena in London in the world’s first building installation of the new breed of onshore renewable energy source.

The installation of 10 of the 68cm vertical turbines could generate up to an estimated 87,600 kilowatt hours (kWhs) a year – enough electricity to power 23 homes.

Designed for use next to roads and railways, Alpha-311’s turbines are made from lightweight recycled plastic and can be spun from a gentle breeze or movement of a passing car or train.

While the units being installed at the O2 weigh about 4kg, the company says it can build larger models that could generate as much electricity as 20 square metres of solar panels.

“This first order is just the beginning,” said Alpha-311 chief executive Barry Thompson. “Ten turbines aren’t quite enough to power a Rolling Stones concert, but they’ll easily handle one of The O2’s many restaurants.”

The O2 said it had been searching for a suitable wind generated power source to help reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and help with its ambition to become a zero-carbon venue.

Lee Lacey, facility director at what was known as the Millennium Dome, said: “We are so incredibly excited to be collaborating with the team at Alpha 311 and be the first venue in the world to install their commercial wind turbines.”

The venue is one of many operated by sports and entertainment company AEG, including the Hammersmith Apollo and dozens in the USA, and Lacey said he hoped the trial “provides the launch pad of many more installations”.

Alpha-311’s board includes former Vodafone founding directors, Julian Horn-Smith, and former ITV and BBC newsman, Martyn Lewis.

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