Kite Power set for take-off towards subsidy-free wind power with new £2m Scot-Govt investment

Scottish Industry Minister Keith Brown (right) with David Ainsworth, Director, Kite Power Systems, alongside the winch unit for the company's latest kite power generator.
Scottish Industry Minister Keith Brown (right) with David Ainsworth, Director, Kite Power Systems, alongside the winch unit for the company’s latest kite power generator.

Kite Power Systems (KPS) – the renewable eneergy company developing innovative new kite power technology in Scotland – has secured a £2 million equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank.

The £2 million investment makes SIB the latest investor in Kite Power joining E.ON, Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures, who announced a combined £5 million investment last year.

This latest investment was confirmed by MSP Keith Brown, Scottish Industry Minister, on a visit to Kellwood Engineering in Dumfries, where Kite Power’s latest 500kW demonstration model is being manufactured and assembled.

Earlier this year, Kite Power re-located from Essex and consolidated all of its activities in Scotland, establishing a research and test facility near Stranraer and a head office in Glasgow.

Its power system features two kites which fly up to an altitude of 1,500 feet. Both kites are attached by tethers to a winch system that generates electricity as it spools out.  

This 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.

Brown said: “Scotland has recently moved into the top group of EU nations as regards innovation performance, and the commercialisation of novel ideas – such as the technology being developed by Kite Power Systems – will help to drive us even further forward.”

Kite Power has already built a team of 20 people – mainly engineers – and aims to grow to 34 by the end of 2017. The company’s management and design engineering team are based in Glasgow, with a further team of test and development engineers based at the test facility near Stranraer.

The company has been flight testing its current 40kW system there over the past few weeks and has secured planning consent to deploy the new 500kW power system,   following delivery of the completed model during August 2017.

This will lead to a planned onshore demonstration array of multiple 500kW systems within the next four years, elsewhere in Scotland.  Thereafter, KPS will develop a 3MW onshore system at the test facility and then deploy a similar sized power system in offshore waters.

Kite Power director David Ainsworth said:Lower capital and operational costs means that kite power generation does 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.”

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