• 2 days PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 2 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 2 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 2 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 3 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 3 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 3 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 3 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 3 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 3 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 3 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 3 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 3 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 4 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 4 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 4 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 4 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 4 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 4 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 4 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 4 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 4 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 5 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 5 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 5 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 6 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 6 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 6 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 6 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 6 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 6 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 6 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 6 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 6 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 6 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 7 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 7 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 7 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 7 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 7 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
Alt Text

Tesla’s New Frontier: Batteries And Wind

Electric car builder Tesla and…

Alt Text

Can Deep Water Wind Farms Power The World?

A recent study suggests that…

Alt Text

The Two Nations Leading The Wind Power Race

UK and China have joined…

Jess McCabe

Jess McCabe

Jess is a writer for Environmental Finance.Environmental Finance is the leading global publication covering the ever-increasing impact of environmental issues on the lending, insurance, investment…

More Info

High Altitude Wind Energy: Why the Future of Wind Farms May be in the Sky

High Altitude Wind Energy: Why the Future of Wind Farms May be in the Sky

Using kites and balloons to tap the strong, consistent winds more than two kilometres in the air could avoid many of the pitfalls of more down-to-earth wind farms, according to the first market report on the nascent industry by consultancy GL Garrad Hassan.

No commercial scale pilots have been tested in the air yet, according to the report, but small-scale prototypes have been tried out. ‘Real scale’ prototypes are being developed by some of the 22 companies active in the high altitude wind energy (Hawe) field.

At greater altitudes, wind velocity is higher and more consistent than at ground level. Hawe systems vary in design but may involve a kite, parachute, rotating balloon or fixed wing, tethered to the ground or an offshore platform.

For example, California-based Makani Power has received a $15 million grant from Google to build a prototype of its ‘wing concept’, which has an onboard computer that navigates the wind in a circular pattern mimicking a traditional wind turbine, the report says. The company plans to have products on the market in 2013-14, with a 1MW model on sale in 2015.

Germany's SkySail Power has invested €50 million ($72 million) in its kite technology, according to the report, which is also attaches to commercial ships to generate power.

Italian firm KiteGen Stem uses a pulley system to generate electricity, and has already tested a prototype at 800m. The report says the firm is testing a 3MW capacity system. Other firms are closer to the drawing board.

Onshore wind farms are currently the most popular renewable energy projects but, the report predicts, Hawe systems could help meet growing demand for carbon neutral electricity generation without taking up space on land.

Oceans too deep to install traditional offshore wind turbines could host floating tethers for Hawe systems, the report predicts. West of the UK and Ireland, east of Japan, the Pacific west of Oregon and British Columbia are all “promising areas” for such developments.

Nascent industry focusing attention 2km up and higher

These systems fly more than 200m up, with most of the industry’s attention focused on harnessing winds more than 2km up. Hawe systems could operate at heights of up to 20km, the report predicts.

China is expected to lead the Hawe market, also known as the airborne wind energy industry, as in the wider clean energy space. But in Europe, the UK will dominate, Garrad Hassan predicts.

More research is needed to fill in gaps in the data about wind speeds so far above ground, says the report. Further technical developments will also be needed, such as to deal with the threat of thunder and lightening, the weight of tether cables that can transmit electricity and control of the systems.

Winning permission from air traffic authorities will also be a hurdle, the report acknowledges. “Considering the experience of commercial wind developments in respect of flight path issues and radar interference, the authorities are likely to be very conservative and restrictive in their responses to flight path issues,” the report warns.

By. Jess McCabe

Source: Environmental-Finance




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News