"After a Shaky Start, Airborne Wind Energy Is Slowly Taking Off"

"Numerous companies are developing technologies, such as large kites, that can harvest wind energy up to a half-mile above ground. While still in its nascent stages, airborne wind power could potentially be used in remote locations or flying from barges far offshore."

"Look up over the white sand beaches of Mauritius and you may see a gigantic sail, much like the kind used by paragliders or kite surfers but the size of a three-bedroom apartment, looping figure-eights overhead. The sail isn’t a tourist attraction — it’s creating electricity for the power grid of this island nation off the coast of East Africa.

Launched in December by German company SkySails Power, the massive wing is the world’s first fully autonomous commercial “airborne wind energy” (AWE) system. For the past two months, the company says, it has been delivering a little under its goal of 100 kilowatts —typically enough to power up to 50 homes. That’s just a tiny fraction of the island’s electricity demand, but, SkySails hopes, a sign of the future.

As the world heads towards net-zero emissions, pretty much every pathway for future electricity production foresees a big role for wind. The International Energy Association forecasts wind energy skyrocketing 11-fold by 2050, with wind and solar together accounting for 70 percent of the planet’s electricity demands. Thanks to the expanding number of wind turbines dotting fields and adorning ridgelines worldwide, the cost of wind power has plummeted about 40 percent over the past decade."

Nicola Jones reports for Yale Environment 360 February 23, 2022.

Source: YaleE360, 02/28/2022