Kitepower’s Airborne Wind Energy System ready for operation in Aruba

Kitepower’s containerised Falcon 100kW Airborne Wind Energy System (AWES) is ready ro harness the winds on the Caribbean island Aruba. It has recently been installed at the Dutch Defence’s training area near Vader Piet with the goal to test the system in an operational environment as part of the military exercise Caribbean Engineer 2021.

This is a milestone for the Dutch company Kitepower and the whole AWE industry as it is the very first Airborne Wind Energy system to be operated in the Caribbeans and also the first outside the European continent.

The vessel carrying Kitepower’s Falcon 100kW AWES was shipped from the port of Eemshaven at the beginning of September. Delivering the Kitepower Falcon overseas represented a great opportunity for Kitepower to put to the test the system’s logistics and prove its transportation and installation advantages. Only two standard trucks, one for the Kitepower system and one for a battery from Greener Power Solutions, were needed for the transportation. Being able to transport the system via ordinary and even narrow roads makes the system ideal for deployment in rural and remote areas.

The deployment of Kitepower’s AWE technology is taking place near the 30MW Vader Piet Wind Farm, NuCapital‘s first involvement on the island dated 2009, led by wind energy expert and Kitepower’s mentor & investor Henk Hutting (1952 – 2021).

“Henk has been a strong supporter of Kitepower and I am incredibly grateful that part of our common dream – bringing Kitepower to the Caribbeans – becomes reality. It is especially satisfying that we are flying in front of a wind farm that was developed by him and I hope he will be watching from his star.”

Kitepower’s Founder CEO, Johannes Peschel.

Airborne Wind Energy on Islands

Airborne wind energy systems work well on islands due to high coastal winds ensuring strong steady power generation. Islands offer fundamental challenges for any energy supply, as the cost of running a power line or even supplying fuel to local generators are often several times what the same would cost on the mainland. For this reason, energy tends to be supplied by generators running on diesel imported at very high costs.

Kitepower ‘s solution reduces fuel consumption, cost and environmental footprint of these generators. Kitepower can be integrated into microgrids. When integrating Kitepower in combination with batteries, diesel generators can be switched off completely. Hybridizing with Kitepower results in less diesel consumption for more clean energy, culminating in considerable financial savings even for areas that do not experience consistent high wind speeds.

Partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Defence

It was November 2016 when the relationship between the Dutch Ministry of Defence and Kitepower first started. Back then, Kitepower had just won the Innovation Competition themed “Energy for Military Operations” aimed to foster the development of a 100kW Airborne Wind Energy System capable to support the ministry’s decarbonization commitment (Operationele Energiestrategie, OES-2015).

Following up on the Innovation competition, in early 2018, Kitepower successfully performed a training session for the Dutch Defence in order to introduce the Falcon 100kW system and its operation. This was the first time that an external crew operated a Kitepower AWES.

After the Innovation Competition, in 2019 Kitepower received a second valuable collaboration agreement with the Dutch Defence focused on reporting the benefits of deploying Kitepower throughout Defence’s field operations, named: “Kitepower System for the New Defence Technology Program” and this is what ultimately led to the project taking place in 2021 on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Aruba. The collaboration agreement had developed within the framework of the National Technology Project (NTP), a program that stimulates the development of prototypes and demonstration of defence-specific applications. Source: KItepower

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