An Essex-based developer of airborne wind energy systems is re-locating to Dumfries-shire after gaining planning approval for its kite-driven generators by the Scots local authority.
Kite Power Solutions now plans to start test flights at the former RAF base at West Freugh, starting next year with a 500kW system, followed by a 3-MW system in 2019.
Its technology sees two kites tethered to spool drums and as they fly they turn the drums to produce electricity.
Kite Power Solutions is the UK’s only developer of airborne wind energy systems, which operate at twice the height of conventional HAWT where the wind resource is stronger and more consistent.
The company claims the technology will halve the cost of offshore wind energy by removing the requirement for government subsidies and significantly reduce the cost of onshore wind.
This assessment was conducted by the independent BVG Associates consultancy.
This is achieved by removing 85% of the mass of the HAWT structure as all loads are in tension and not bending
And array-yield is increase by more than 20% over HAWT as the kites fly twice as high as HAWT where the resource is higher and more consistent, plus the inter device array losses are reduced.
KPS engineering and development test teams will complete their relocation north of the Border early next year, where these teams will be augmented through local recruitment in Scotland.
The company has said it could eventually employ up to 500 people by 2025, if the project enters the manufacturing stage.
David Ainsworth, Business Development Director, Kite Power Solutions, said: “We have received grants from DECC Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and Innovate UK, plus seed-funding from a ‘large strategic source’.
“And we are progressing towards a close in a significant investment round by the end of this year which includes significant strategic and financial investment interest.
“Our international competition includes Google Makani, Ampyx and E-Kite in the Netherlands, KiteGen in Italy and Enerkite in Germany to name a few, while Scotland-based Natural Power Resources has been helping us through the consenting process.”