Kite power venture ties down £5m investment

A UK company pioneering the use of kites for high altitude power generation has secured £5 million of investment from Eon, Shell Technology Ventures and Schlumberger.

Kite Power Systems (KPS) will use the funding to deploy a 500kW onshore installation at West Freugh in Scotland in 2017.

The company plans to build a demonstration array of multiple 500kW installations over the next three to four years. It then intends to develop a 3MW onshore system, again at West Freugh, followed by a similarly sized project in offshore waters.

KPS has invested £3 million in developing high altitude wind generation since the venture was established in 2011. The technology has the potential to “transform the global offshore wind generation market”, according to firm, as it is cheaper to manufacture and requires less construction and installation materials than conventional wind turbines.

“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,” said KPS chief financial officer Paul Jones. “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.”

Eon senior vice president for B2C and innovation Frank Meyer said: “Eon has been looking into airborne wind technologies for five years. The approach of KPS 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.”