Scientists are building the world’s first wind farm powered by giant kites in Britain that could generate enough electricity to run 5,500 homes.As many as twenty kites flying higher than Britain’s tallest building will work in pairs to generate electricity.
They will fly in loops at more than 160 kilometres per hour. Their movement will pull on a tether wrapped around a rotating drum on the ground linked to a generator.The kites take turns to fly out and back, ensuring that the power supply is constant. Scotland-based company Kite Power Systems (KPS) has successfully tested a 40 kilowatt version.The company plans to build ten 500kW systems about 600 metres apart at a site by the year 2020.
“The kite farm would preferably be in Scotland and would generate enough power for 5,500 homes,” said David Ainsworth, KPS’s business development director.The kites are much cheaper than wind turbines as they use a lot less steel and are easier to transport and maintain, Ainsworth told ‘The Times’.
The visual impact would also be less intrusive because there would be no towers and the kites would fly above 300 metres, twice the height of the blades of a typical onshore wind turbine, he added. Ainsworth said that the kites could be installed on the pilings of decommissioned offshore wind turbines. Hundreds of the original turbines will reach the end of their operational life in the 2020s, he said.