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Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Britain’s Kite Power Systems Set To Fly Further With New Investment

Kite Power Systems secures £5m funding from E.ON, Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures

Britain’s Kite Power Systems (KPS) has secured £5million (US$6.19m / €5.86m) of new investment from E.ON, Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures (STV).  The investment will support KPS’s technical and commercial development of its pioneering high-altitude wind power generation technology.

KPS’s kite power 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 (See Notes to Editors).  The lower cost means that kite power generation would 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.

This latest investment will support KPS’s plans to deploy a 500kW onshore power system at West Freugh in South West Scotland next year (2017), leading to a planned onshore demonstration array of multiple 500kW systems within the next 3-4 years.  Thereafter, KPS will develop a 3MW onshore system at West Freugh and then deploy a similar sized power system in offshore waters.

Paul Jones, Chief Financial Officer of KPS said: “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. 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.”

KPS was established in 2011 and to date has invested more than £3m in technology development, with financial support coming from the UK Government (via DECC’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund and Innovate UK), Shell’s GameChanger programme and private investors.

Following Shell’s support to KPS since 2012 through its GameChanger programme, which provides early-stage start-up companies with financial and technical support to demonstrate the practical and commercial viability of their ideas, Shell’s corporate venturing arm STV chose to invest in KPS.

Geert van de Wouw, Managing Director of STV said:  “We have closely followed KPS’s progress over the years and consider that its disruptive wind technology is on the right trajectory towards commercialisation. I have been impressed by KPS’s ability to continuously meet the challenging milestones Shell has set them during this period. Over time, KPS has convinced me that its high altitude kite power solution has disruptive potential for the wind industry. It is an interesting contribution to renewable energy generation and a good fit to explore through Shell’s New Energies business.”

E.ON is headquartered in Germany and is focusing entirely on renewables, energy grids and customer solutions.  Frank Meyer, Senior Vice President B2C & Innovation at E.ON said:  “E.ON has been looking into airborne wind technologies for five years. The approach of Kite Power Solutions 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.”

As a major oil & gas services company, with operations around the world, Schlumberger chose to invest in KPS because the technology has the potential to be deployed in varied locations including offshore oil platforms, remote onshore drilling operations and decommissioned offshore wind turbine towers.

For further information /downloadable images & film footage:
Kite Power Systems (www.kitepowersystems.com  / twitter@kitepowerltd)
David Ainsworth, Business Development Director: david.ainsworth@kitepowersystems.com / +44 (0)7966 937146
Paul Taylor, Taylor Keogh Communications: +44 (0)20 8392 8250 / +44 (0)7966 782611 / paul@taylorkeogh.com

For Scottish media inquiries
David Budge, Budge PR: 0141 553 1115 / 07831 156333 / david.budge@budgepr.com

Markus Nitschke: +49 201 184 4256 / +49 160 989 5555

Shell Technology Ventures
Natasha Obank: +44 (0)20 7934 5550

Notes to Editors
  1. The KPS power system has two kites that are flown as high as 1500 feet (450m); their tether is attached to a winch system that generates electricity as it spools out. By achieving flight speeds of up to 100mph (45m/s) in 20mph (9m/s) winds, the kite’s tether tension causes the line to rapidly spool out from a drum, which turns a generator producing electricity.
  2. KPS’s technology can reduce the capex of conventional offshore turbines by as much as 50% because its patented power system doesn’t require large quantities of steel or specialist installation vessels.  In addition to the Balance of Plant being lower than traditional wind turbine, Kite Power Systems have a better effective wind efficiency per m² active area. The International Renewable Energy Agency’s Innovation Outlook for Offshore Wind (IRENA, published in October 2016) states a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for conventional offshore turbines of US$170/MWh in 2015 reducing to US$95/MWh in 2030. Independent assessment of the KPS technology indicates a LCOE of US$62.5/MWh by 2020, reducing to less than US$50/MWh by 2030.
  3. While there are other high altitude wind power systems under development around the world, the patented KPS system is unique and KPS is the only British company active in the kite power market.
  4. With immediate effect, Kite Power Solutions will trade as Kite Power Systems.  Next year, the company will open its research and test facility at West Freugh, a former airbase owned by the UK Ministry of Defence and which is located in south west Scotland.

About Shell Technology Ventures
Shell Technology Ventures (“STV”) is the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”). With major offices in Europe and the USA, STV invests in technology companies to enhance the development of new technologies that have the potential to create substantial deployment value in Shell. Continuing Shell’s tradition in venture capital since 1998, STV’s investment focus includes oil & gas, renewable green energy technologies, clean tech and IT. STV co-invests with other corporate investors, venture capital funds and angels and will invest in both early stage and late stage (growth capital) companies. For more information, visit www.shell.com/techventures.