E.On has committed to invest in the development of a demonstration site in Ireland to test an airborne wind energy system.
The company has signed an agreement with Ampyx Power, a Dutch airborne wind energy system developer, to develop the site in County Mayo. It has also signed a collaboration agreement with Ampyx to become the first user of the proposed test site.
E.On said in a statement that the move would strengthen its position as a frontrunner and early adopter in airborne wind energy, which uses tethered wings or kites to convert wind into energy.
Last year the company invested in Scotland-based airborne wind energy firm Kite Power Systems.
“Airborne wind supports one of our overall targets to drive down cost for renewable energy. In addition to making airborne wind competitive to conventional wind power, we would like to work with authorities and legislators to pave the way for introducing this exciting technology and eventually make it eligible to participate in tendering processes,” said Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO of E.ON Climate & Renewables.
E.On said that the development of a test site was an important stepping stone that would enable it to work with the most promising technology developers and provide support for the commercialization of airborne wind technology. Ampyx said that the agreement would give it access to “E.On’s vast offshore wind expertise”.
Ampyx added that its technology has the potential to transform the global offshore wind generation market as airborne wind devices are cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain than conventional wind turbines. Additionally, they are easier to deploy in deep offshore waters.