West Freugh kite power scheme secures £5m support

image copyrightKite Power Solutions

Plans for one of the world's first kite power stations in south west Scotland have secured £5m of new investment.

Kite Power Systems (KPS) has gained backing for its project at West Freugh near Stranraer from E.ON, Schlumberger and Shell Technology Ventures (STV).

Paul Jones of the company said it was an "endorsement" of its research and development work on the technology.

A demonstration system will be put in place next year with further systems planned in years to come.

The technology uses two kites tethered to spool drums and as they fly they turn the drums to produce electricity.

'Global scale'

A full-sized kite could generate two to three megawatts of electricity, which KPS said was comparable to a 100m conventional wind turbine.

The company has said it could eventually employ up to 500 people by 2025.

Mr Jones said: "The backing of these companies will accelerate KPS's commercial development plans towards deploying lower cost, deep-water offshore wind energy on a global scale."

KPS was established in 2011 and to date has invested more than £3m in technology development.

Geert van de Wouw, managing director of STV, said he had been convinced over time of the value of the KPS technology.

"It is an interesting contribution to renewable energy generation and a good fit to explore through Shell's New Energies business," he said.

'Game changer'

E.ON senior vice president Frank Meyer said: "The approach of KPS has the potential to become a game changer for the wind energy market.

"It supports one of our overall targets to drive down the costs for renewable energy.

"In addition to this, we catch the opportunity to be a first mover in producing renewable energy at locations where it is, for economic and technical reasons, not possible today."

Oil and gas services company Schlumberger made its investment as it believes the technology could be used on offshore oil platforms, remote onshore drilling operations and decommissioned offshore wind turbine towers.

Commenting on the news, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "We hope the investment enables this emerging renewable technology to achieve its aim of developing a commercial-scale project.

"Kite power technology offers the prospect of an exciting new way to harness the power of the wind, particularly in places where it might be impractical to erect a wind turbine."

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