World’s first ‘kite power’ station in £5m investment boost

Kite power 3 - © Kite Power Systems Ltd 2015The firm behind plans to build the world’s first commercial-scale, kite-driven power station near Stranraer is to receive part of a £5 million investment from global energy companies.

The investment from E.ON, Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures (STV) will support Kite Power Systems’ (KPS) technical and commercial development of its pioneering high-altitude wind power generation technology.

KPS said its kite power technology has the potential to transform the global offshore wind generation market as it is cheaper to manufacture and requires less construction and installation materials than conventional wind turbines.

The lower cost means that kite power generation would not need government subsidies and could be deployed in UK and Irish waters (and other areas of the North Sea) and in waters up to and potentially deeper than 40m found offshore of countries such as Portugal, Japan and the USA.  Kite Power Systems can also be deployed onshore.

This latest investment will support KPS’s plans to deploy a 500kW onshore power system at West Freugh in South West Scotland next year, leading to a planned onshore demonstration array of multiple 500kW systems within the next 3-4 years.

Thereafter, KPS will develop a 3MW onshore system at West Freugh and then deploy a similar sized power system in offshore waters.

Paul Jones, chief financial officer of KPS, said: “The new investment from three major international businesses is an endorsement of the R&D work that the KPS team has carried out and demonstrates support for our technology and our business. The backing of these companies will accelerate KPS’s commercial development plans towards deploying lower cost, deep-water offshore wind energy on a global scale.”

Geert van de Wouw, managing director of STV, said: “We have closely followed KPS’s progress over the years and consider that its disruptive wind technology is on the right trajectory towards commercialisation.I have been impressed by KPS’s ability to continuously meet the challenging milestones Shell has set them during this period. Over time, KPS has convinced me that its high altitude kite power solution has disruptive potential for the wind industry. It is an interesting contribution to renewable energy generation and a good fit to explore through Shell’s New Energies business.”

Frank Meyer, senior vice president B2C & innovation at E.ON, added: “E.ON has been looking into airborne wind technologies for five years. The approach of Kite Power Solutions has the potential to become a game changer for the wind energy market. It supports one of our overall targets to drive down the costs for renewable energy. In addition to this, we catch the opportunity to be a first mover in producing renewable energy at locations where it is, for economic and technical reasons, not possible today.”

Welcoming the news, WWF Scotland director, Lang Banks, said: “We hope the investment enables this emerging renewable technology to achieve its aim of developing a commercial-scale project.

“Kite power technology offers the prospect of an exciting new way to harness the power of the wind, particularly in places where it might be impractical to erect a wind turbine.

“Alongside energy reduction schemes and other renewables, this technology could contribute to helping us to end our addiction with climate changing fossil fuels.

“We hope the innovation being shown by this project and the many others across the country inspires our politicians to think big when they come to review their climate change and energy ambitions.”

All images © Kite Power Systems Ltd 2015