Scottish bank backs kite power

Scotland-based windpower firm Kite Power Systems has won à‚£2m ($2.55m) in equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

The news follows KPS’s relocation in February from England to Scotland, where it has established a research and testing facility near Stranraer and a head office in Glasgow.

The SIB joins E.ON, Shell and Schlumberger, which together announced a combined à‚£5m investment in the company in December.

The technology, which KPS hopes will prove disruptive in the offshore wind sector, replaces turbines with tethered kites that fly at an altitude of around 450 metres and can achieve speeds of up to 100 miles per hour in 20-mile winds. The resulting rapid unspooling of the tether line turns a generator to produce power.

A 40 kW system is currently in the testing stage, KPS said, adding that it has received planning consent to deploy a 500 kW system in Scotland in August. Thereafter, it aims to deploy multiple 500 kW systems in Scotland within the next three to four years, with future plans including development of a 3 MW onshore system and deployment of a similarly-sized offshore system in waters up to 40 metres deep.

The firm claims its technology is cheaper to manufacture and requires fewer construction and installation materials than conventional wind turbines, which would mean that projects would not need subsidy support.

Iain Scott, Scottish Enterprise CFO, said: “Scotland has an excellent track record in renewables innovation, and Kite Power Systems’ decision to move to Scotland is testament to our reputation in this area.

“Kite Power Systems is a great example of an ambitious and innovative company operating in this sector, and we look forward to continuing to work with the company to build on the success of its prototype.”

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