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Monday, February 20th, 2017

Temporary testing at Castle Kennedy for Kite Power Systems

Temporary testing of innovative new kite power technology will take place at Castle Kennedy airfield during the latter part of February and throughout March.

Kite Power Systems (KPS) confirmed the temporary testing will take place in the run up to the company commencing development work in April at its permanent  research and test facility at West Freugh, 8km south east of Stranraer.

The company’s Business Development Director, David Ainsworth explained, “Our current planning consent for our new 500 kilowatt system allows for in-flight testing at West Freugh between April and September, thus mitigating any possible impacts on wintering populations of Greenland White Fronted Geese and Hen Harriers in that locale.  The same level of constraint does not apply at Castle Kennedy airfield and so securing agreement from the Stair Estate to use the airfield allows us to test our 40 kilowatt system for some extra weeks, making a great head start to our development programme in Scotland.”

Mr. Ainsworth also confirmed that the company had successfully recruited four engineers to be based at the test facility and is currently looking for an electrical engineer to complete the initial test team. Further technical support is also being provided by Dumfries and Galloway based Natural Power Consultants.

In December 2016, KPS announced £5million of new investment into the company from E.ON, Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures.

Deployment of the 500kW power system at West Freugh from April this year will lead 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.

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.

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

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

Notes to Editor
  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. Prior to the £5million investment announced in December 2016, KPS had 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.