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Using Tethered Aircraft to Harvest the Stronger Winds at 400 Metres

powerplaneAirborne wind energy is a new development in the wind industry. While the regular wind turbine industry is now a mature industry, electricity produced by wind turbines is still not competitive with that produced from fossil fuels. The main problems are the large initial investment associated with the purchase of the wind turbine, and the low capacity factor. The high cost of a wind turbine is caused by the large amount of steel, composites, copper and concrete required for the construction. The low capacity factor is caused by the limited wind resource at 100 metres altitude. Airborne wind energy has the potential to generate power at lower cost and with a higher capacity factor.

By Bas Lansdorp, General Director, Ampyx Power, The Netherlands

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