Kite Power Solutions (KPS) is developing an airborne solution to harness wind energy that could be game-changing. Using less materials and accessing a greater wind resource, kites offer the prospect of a much lower cost of energy than the next generation of conventional horizontal axis wind turbines.  KPS asked BVG Associates to provide an independent assessment of cost of energy and energy production of its twin-kite airborne system.

KPS needed a robust, independent and quantitative assessment of the benefits of its technology. It wanted assessments of capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) compared to future state-of-the-art conventional offshore wind technology. It also needed independently calculated annual energy production (AEP) estimates for use with potential investors and project developers and to and derive levelised cost of energy (LCOE).

BVGA assessed CAPEX and OPEX for a 500kW scale system, then extrapolated to a first 3MW system and for volume production. We produced an independent model to calculate the power curve and AEP for the KPS system. We compared the LCOE for a 500MW wind farm using KPS kite turbines with that for a wind farm using conventional horizontal axis wind turbines, both with final investment decision in 2020. We also assessed the LCOE for a project using KPS technology to repower a wind farm at the end of its design life and provided a sensitivity analysis considering some of the technical design options available to KPS.

Our AEP modelling suggested a range of improvements that KPS could implement. We estimated that once commercial, the LCOE from a wind farm with KPS technology would be 26%-47% lower than conventional technology, depending on wind farm location, choice of foundation and kite size. The work has facilitated changes to KPS product development plan and significant new blue-chip investment. It also underpinned a KPS-led consortium winning further funding of £1m from the UK government in March 2016 to develop its next scale prototype.

“I have very high expectations of BVG Associates’ work and they never disappoint me with their professionalism, ability to deliver and expertise.”

David Ainsworth Business Development Director, KPS