- Published: 20 May 2021 20 May 2021
Natural Power has secured planning consent on behalf of RWE to develop a demonstration site in County Mayo, Ireland, that will test new airborne wind energy systems (AWES). Construction of the site infrastructure is expected to begin later this year.
RWE’s test site will first undertake testing, verification and demonstration of a 150 kilowatts (kW) demonstrator system developed by partner Ampyx Power, followed later by a larger commercial-scale 1MW system. The Ampyx Power system consists of a ground-based winch generator, a launch and land platform, and small, aircraft-shaped device. The device, which has a 12-metre wingspan, is connected to the generator by an tether. It draws the tether from the winch and produces electricity by acting against the resistance of the built-in generator. Once the tether is fully extended, the device glides back towards the winch, as the tether is reeled back in. Retrieving the tether requires just a fraction of the energy generated, resulting in net power production. This cycle is performed repeatedly. RWE will also test systems from other AWES developers during the eight-year operational lifetime of its test centre.
Natural Power delivered a number of roles on this project, including site investigations; ornithological surveys; Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP); planning application and project management of planning consent, including EIA screening, construction environmental management plan, traffic management plan, hydrological, archaeological, visual and structural assessments; and grid connection services.