The higher you go, the windier it gets. But tall towers quickly get expensive to install. Google subsidiary Makani is building power-generating kites that can soar up to 300m – around 100m higher than the world’s largest turbine tower. The 600kW kites travel in massive circles, with wing-mounted turbines generating electricity and passing it down the tether to the grid. With the financial might of Google behind it, Makani is less dependent on subsidies and grants than some startups. British company Kite Power Solutions (KPS) uses more traditional-looking kites, flying in huge figures of eight. Machinery on the ground generates power by spooling out the lightweight kites rapidly, then pulling them back in gently. A pilot test near Stranraer in Scotland is up and running, with plans for a 500kW system nearby in June. KPS has equity investment from Shell, E.ON and Schlumberger, and led a British engineering consortium that secured a £1m UK government grant in 2016.
Guardian 8th May 2017 read more »