O2 Arena swear by clean electricity

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O2 arena will install mini wind Image: AEG Europe

The O2 Arena (UK) will soon use a new breed of “vertical wind turbine” to generate its own clean electricity following a deal with a startup firm that claims its turbines will generate power even when the wind is not blowing.

‘The Guardian’ reported that the London landmark – once known as the Millennium Dome – will begin by setting up 10 of the 68cm (27in) vertical turbines. The breezy conditions at the site on the River Thames will help generate enough clean electricity to light up 23 homes.

The 20,000-capacity O2 Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena in the center of The O2 entertainment complex on the Greenwich Peninsula in Southeast London. It opened in its present form in 2007. It has the second-highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, behind the Manchester Arena, and in 2008 was the world’s busiest music arena.

Although this is a small amount of the O2’s total energy consumption, the arena’s owner AEG (American worldwide sporting and music entertainment presenter) expects to install more of the mini turbines across its stadia all over the globe.

‘The Guardian’ further reported that the new breed of turbine is said to be able to spin from even a gentle movement of air, or a passing car. Each unit is made from recycled plastic and weighs about 4 kg (9lbs), but the design could be scaled up to help generate as much electricity as 20 sq meters of solar panels, as per its developer Alpha 311.

Lee Lacey, Facility Director, O2, said the arena – which keeps the sustainability quotient high in its mind – had “been searching for a suitable wind-generated power source” to help cut its greenhouse gas emissions and reach its ambition to become a net zero carbon entertainment venue”.

Added Lacey, “The opportunity to provide a local on-site source of power generation is huge and we hope this trial provides the launchpad of many more installations, not only at the O2 and other AEG venues but across the Greenwich peninsula and throughout the UK.”

Alpha 311 turbines were originally designed to be larger, at just nearly two meters in length, and installed on infrastructure with a connection to the electricity grid, such as streetlights, to help cut down on costs.

Installing the turbines on streetlights along motorways, for example, could generate eight times as much clean electricity as they are expected to produce at the O2 Arena. Motorways also offer the advantage of minimal set-up time and no hazardous effect on the environment or local views, which can be a concern for traditional windfarms in some areas.

Barry Thompson, Chief Executive, Alpha 311, informed that the company was already in talks with international buyers – “The Alpha 311 turbine was born in Britain with international aspirations, so it’s fitting that we’re working with the world’s most popular music, entertainment and leisure venue.”

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