It strikes me – as a rank amateur of course – that the last thing you would want in order to generate electrical power from the wind, would be a complex tethered kite concept. The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine system however combines just these elements in its proposed low cost power generation product.
There’s lots of nice charts, pics and videos on the site, but you can’t help feeling that any system which relies on swinging an aircraft around on a bit of string at high speed will suffer from operational fatigue problems at regular intervals, and importantly, more than a correspondingly simple system like a solar installation. Interesting idea though.
Makani Power is developing Airborne Wind Turbines (AWT) to extract energy from powerful, consistent winds at altitude. Makani AWTs will produce energy at an unsubsidized real cost competitive with coal-fired power plants, the current benchmark of the lowest cost source of power.