World’s first roadside deployment of wind turbines to go ahead on Telford & Wrekin’s network

The first public road in the world to host the Alpha 311 wind turbines is be in Telford, according to the company behind the technology.

The ‘innovative’ vertical axis wind turbines will be mounted to street lighting on the A442 main carriageway where they will harvest the airflow from passing vehicles.

This follows the news that councils will not need planning permission to place the turbines on lighting columns on their networks.

The turbine turns in low wind speeds, and can not only power the street lights, but will also produce surplus energy that Telford & Wrekin Council can use for local amenities or sell to utility partners to generate a secondary revenue stream.

Installation begins later in the year, and the scheme could include up to 181 turbines delivered to the council.

Telford & Wrekin Council has 20,000 lighting columns, and these 181 turbines will render them all carbon neutral, which goes some way to helping the council meet its climate goals.

The turbine blades are made from carbon fibre and the housing contains a suite of sensors that track each turbine’s performance.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member, said: “This is an absolutely phenomenal project and I’m so proud that Telford & Wrekin Council is leading the way internationally in implementing the technology.

“This new partnership with Alpha 311 restates our commitment to tackling the climate emergency and reinforces our approach: that actions speak louder than words.”

Alpha 311 CEO Barry Thompson said: “While we already have our turbines mounted on buildings, this marks the first installation alongside a public road, which is really the sweet-spot for the Alpha 311 turbine.

“We can see a future where our turbines are as commonplace as cats’ eyes, and the concept of turning roads into wind farms is no longer a novelty. It’s very bold for a council to be a first-mover, and I’m delighted that Telford & Wrekin is taking this step.”

The O2 Arena in London currently hosts three Alpha 311 turbines, where they recently survived Storm Eunice, despite the arena around them being torn apart.

The topic of onshore wind turbines is becoming more and more pressing as the UK struggles to reduce its reliance on oil and gas and make the most of its renewable resources.

This new ability to turn roads (as well as bridges and buildings) into wind farms that do not affect the scenery represents a massive opportunity for councils and communities across the country.

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