Miniature wind turbines could be installed on bridges and streetlights in Manchester. Credit: Marketing Manchester

Greater Manchester to install 2,000 mini-wind turbines

The turbines could be placed on top of streetlights and other city infrastructure throughout the region, generating power using the airflow from passing cars.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with manufacturer Alpha 311 for 2,000 of the turbines. The GMCA also anticipates the deal will help create 200 jobs.

The Energy Innovation Agency and the Manchester Inward Investment Agency are supporting the GMCA in a bid to bring clean energy to the area.

Alpha 311 installed 10 similar turbines at the O2 Arena in London last year. The company estimated that those turbines would generate enough electricity to power 23 homes.

The Greater Manchester turbines would be an upgraded design from those on the O2 – and slightly larger. The GMCA turbines would be two metres tall and one metre wide.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said he was “delighted” by the partnership with Alpha 311 for the turbines.

“I’m looking forward to seeing these innovative wind turbines on Greater Manchester’s lamp posts and buildings in the near future,” Burnham said.

“The switch to net-zero carbon can, and should, be something that offers a fairer future, as well as a greener one,” he continued.

“Not only will this partnership see us generate more low carbon energy locally, it will also support the creation of 200 new jobs in Greater Manchester with green skills developed here, and – crucially – provide more affordable energy to people at a time when they need it most.”

John Sanderson, chief operating officer at Alpha 311, shared how creating jobs is a priority for the company.

“It’s always been our goal to empower local communities,” he said. “If people live with turbines, they should not only benefit from the energy generated but also jobs and new skills they create.”

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

Like graffiti adorns our buildings, washing up liquid will turn these into excellent bubble machines because local government are talking empty, 🌈 bubbles like the non-starter CAZ.

By Andy Grey Rider

What an absolutely massive waste of money- the level of power generated would be a drop I. The ocean to what is need to help grow the economy and the cat con used to produce these things far out weighs any medium savings- this is another politician spending other peoples money without a thought

By Stuart wood

Sounds a sensible low cost way to generate some sustainable power even if its likely to be small amounts.

By oscar

How about putting solar panels and green roofs on buildings

By Anonymous

Don’t tell Liz Truss about this lol

By Levelling Up Manager

Great. We need energy security, so a proof of concept like this would be fantastic. If every home had one of these, we’d have a stronger negotiating position with authoritarian regimes. Every little step towards generating renewable energy here is an investment towards a more resilient economy.

By Independence

Two metres tall and one metre wide? That seems like a big bit of kit to stick on a lampost…not a very attractive one either. Great idea though. would be nice if we knew who the power generated benefitted?

By Steve

Nice idea – I just hope they keep the axles well oiled. 2000 squealing turbines in the wind could be a pretty awful noise!

By Anon

This is assuming that there are enough cars being allowed to use the Roads in Manchester particularly the city centre having regard to the continuing attempts of the highway engineers to stop vehicle use by their ever insane traffic restrictions ! Maybe there will be enough cyclists to create the wind necessary?

By Anonymous

Two metres tall and one metre wide on a lamp post. It might just about power the switch which would turn the light on to grid-served electricity. So there’s a saving!

By Edge

There is a saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. This “free” energy can only come from the passing cars. The turbines must cause extra drag on the cars as they go past, I wonder what this does to the fuel consumption?

By Richard

As if there was not already enough things already stuck to lamp posts . All to generate enough electricity for 23 homes . Madness

By Graham Wilson

    Hey Graham – just an fyi, the 23 homes stat related to the 10 turbines installed at the O2. The ones that may come to GM are larger and there would be 2,000 of them – not 10. So one would presume it would generate much more power than enough for 23 houses. – Julia

    By Julia Hatmaker

Windmills are too expensive and inefficient methods to produce electric power. Heat insulation for new and old houses together with office blocks would substantially reduce energy consumption with inexpensive material and still offer work for “200” people.

By John Clarke

Any info on payback, power generated, where we voted for this virtue signalling project?

By Anonymous

I knew there would be some tragic comments from the snowflakes. Look how upset people get over a few turbines.

By Anonymous

2000 doesn’t say how much electricity they will generate and the purpose


    Hi TJL! You are correct. I asked the question before I wrote the story and was told they are still figuring out exactly how much energy the turbines could generate – a lot of it depends on placement and they haven’t settled on where exactly to place them at this point. – Julia

    By Julia Hatmaker

Another rainbows and unicorns initiative backed by the useless Burnham! What about hydropower utilising the reservoir systems belonging to Nw water? At least it would generate more power than a load of windmills!

By Manc

If this turns out like the tree planting on Gt Ancoats Street we are all doomed.

By Pxm

@manc if you think Burnham is useless you’ll have a nasty shock when you realise who has been running (into the ground) the country for the last 12 years

By Levelling Up Manager

Am I right in assuming that these turbines are for powering the actual street lights and are not attached to any residential properties….has the payback period been calculated?

By warp28

Another idea aimed at the easily fooled and the easily pleased, all soundbite and fury signifying nothing.

By Levelling down

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below