E.ON is investing in the development of airborne wind energy, which it says offer “game-changing technologies for renewable energy production”.

Airborne wind technology harvests wind energy by using a fixed wing or sail in altitudes up to 450 metres. E.ON said that the technology “has the potential to transform the global offshore wind generation market, as airborne wind devices are cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain than conventional wind turbines”.

It added that they are also easier to deploy in deeper waters surrounding countries such as Portugal, Japan and the US.

The German company has committed to invest in the development, and if successful, construction and operation of a demonstration site in County Mayo in Ireland.

It has also signed a collaboration agreement with Dutch company Ampyx Power to be the first user of the upcoming test site.

Founded in 2009, Ampyx develops fixed-wing airborne wind systems for deployment in utility scale wind parks and plans to utilize its initial 2 MW product to repower first-generation offshore wind farms which were built in the early 2000’s.

“Airborne wind supports one of our overall targets to drive down cost for renewable energy,” said Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, chief executive of E.ON Climate & Renewables.

“In addition to making airborne wind competitive to conventional wind power, we would like to work with authorities and legislators to pave the way for introducing this exciting technology and eventually make it eligible to participate in tendering processes.”

Ampyx managing director Wolbert Allaart said the deal with E.ON was “a major milestone for our company. It is fundamental for us as it allows us to incorporate E.ON’s vast offshore wind expertise into our product design efforts.”

E.ON is already active in the airborne wind sector – last year it invested in Scottish start-up Kite Power Systems. 

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