June 6 (Renewables Now) - Norwegian utility Voss Energi AS has committed to make an equity investment of NOK 3 million (USD 270,000/EUR 252,000) in airborne wind energy (AWE) specialist Kitemill, which is developing a kite-like wind power generator.
Kitemill said in a statement today that Voss Energi is the lead investor in its latest crowdfunding campaign, the goal of which is to obtain funds for the development of the world’s first permanent test centre for AWE technology.
More specifically, the company will use the fresh capital to deploy as many as five 20-kW KM1 prototype systems and thus form an AWE park in Lista. This project will be followed by Kitemill’s first commercial-scale system, the 100-kW KM2. Twelve units of this device are planned to be supplied to the Norse Airborne Wind Energy Project (NAWEP).
Kitemill’s systems can be deployed up to half a mile above ground in order to benefit from vast areas of high-capacity wind energy. According to the developer, the technology has the potential to halve costs compared to conventional wind turbines and triple energy yield per unit of area.
Thomas Harklau, CEO of Kitemill, considers Voss Energi’s involvement to be a strong signal for the marketplace. He pointed out that the company’s own technology has several key competitive advantages over other AWE systems.
“Firstly, our system is fully automated following significant investments in control system development and demonstration. This is significant because AWE can only be commercialised if it operates autonomously in a reliable manner. Secondly, Kitemill has access to the world’s first formally approved test site for AWE. In addition, our team benefits from world-class experience across a broad range of relevant industries from wind energy, aviation, automotive and defence, while our innovative ground station concept has been optimised to drive high energy yields and minimise investment costs,” Harklau added.
Kitemill’s CFO Asgeir Lono, in turn, mentioned that the firm’s technology is suitable for off-grid applications and integration into conventional wind parks by deploying the devices on the towers or nacelles of traditional turbines.
(NOK 10 = USD 0.898/EUR 0.841)