E.On has committed to invest in the development, and if successful, construction and operation of an airborne wind energy demonstration site in County Mayo, Ireland. In parallel, E.ON entered into a collaboration agreement with Ampyx Power as the first user of the proposed test site.
The investment in a test site and the associated collaboration with Ampyx Power is E.On’s second investment in the airborne wind energy domain. In 2016, E.ON invested in the Scotland-based airborne wind energy start-up company 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, chief executive of E.On Climate and Renewables.
Ampyx Power was founded in the Netherlands in 2009. Wolbert Allaart, its managing director, explained: “This cooperation with E.On, one of the leading energy companies in the world, is a major milestone for our company. It is fundamental for us as it allows us to incorporate E.On’s vast offshore wind expertise into our product design efforts. The clear proof of market interest inspires our team of almost 50 engineers who are working on product development since 2014, after we have proven our concept in the initial five years of our existence.”
Airborne wind technology harvests onshore or offshore wind energy by using a fixed wing or sail in altitudes up to 450 meters. E.On said airborne wind devices are cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain than conventional wind turbines, as well as being easier to deploy in deeper waters surrounding countries such as Portugal, Japan and the United States.