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Story 19 January 2022

Story: EIC-funded Kitepower is taking its clean wind energy to the Caribbean Island

Mariana Marques

Kitepower's mobile Airborne Wind Energy System (AWES), the Falcon 100kW, is the very first AWES to be operated in the Caribbean. The deployment of the innovative wind energy system has been part of "Caribbean Engineer 2021 (CAEN21)", a military exercise carried out by the Dutch Defence near the area of Vader Piet on the island of Aruba. The ongoing operation follows a five-year-long collaboration between the Dutch Ministry of Defence and Kitepower.


Kitepower, a startup working in airborne wind energy systems (AWES), develops innovative and cost-effective alternatives to existing wind turbines by using kites to generate electricity. Thanks to the company's patented game-changing technology, the Dutch startup aims to tackle the global energy issue by offering system integrators that operate distributed energy grids. The scalable technology can significantly decrease CO2 emissions, and therefore, accelerate the race to zero emissions.


The relationship between Kitepower and the Dutch Ministry of Defence began in November 2016, when the startup won the Defence Innovation Competition themed "Energy for Operational Action". In 2019, Kitepower received a second valuable collaboration agreement that focused on reporting the benefits of deploying Kitepower's technology throughout Defence's field operations. This successful cooperation has ultimately led to the project taking place in 2021 on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Aruba and represents Kitepower's first operation outside of the Netherlands.



Airborne wind energy systems work exceptionally well on islands due to high coastal winds ensuring robust and steady power generation. Islands offer fundamental challenges for any energy supply. The cost of running a power line or even supplying fuel to local generators is often several times what the same would cost on the mainland. For this reason, energy tends to be supplied by generators running on diesel imported at very high costs. Kitepower offers an excellent solution to reduce the fuel consumption, cost and environmental footprint of these generators.


Johannes Peschel, Founder and CEO of Kitepower, is very pleased with the achievement, and during an interview with the EIC Community, he gave more details about this experience. "A dream finally came true: A milestone that I have envisioned since the incorporation of Kitepower five years ago. We have finally shipped and flown a Kitepower system on a Caribbean Island. It is rewarding to see one of our kites flying next to Henk's wind farm (Vader Piet in Aruba), and I believe it is truly remarkable to be able to witness what Kitepower has accomplished in the last years.".


Kitepower has received a Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) grant to implement a go-to-market strategy for their airborne wind energy system. The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) is part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council pilot (Enhanced EIC pilot) (specifically, the Pathfinder).


DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interest of knowledge sharing and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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