German utilities EnBW and EWE OSS and Leibniz University have partnered with SkySails Power to develop an airborne offshore wind energy system.
Together the companies plan to develop and test a fully automated airborne wind energy system based on the use of kites that can take advantage of greater wind speeds and higher levels of energy than a bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine.
The companies believe that high-altitude wind technology of this type could complement conventional wind turbines.
The objective of the SkyPower100 research project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is to develop and test a fully automated airborne wind energy system with a nominal output of 100 KW by 2020.
The SkySails concept is intended to be fully autonomous and start, land and stow the kite by itself. During the pilot project the consortium hopes to gain insights into scaling high-altitude wind power technology to the MW class and further improve the efficiency and reliability of the technology for future use offshore.
Similar concepts are also being tested elsewhere, such as in the UK by KPS.