Sustainable design has evolved to include a favorite family pastime…flying a kite. In Scotland, there is a ten year plan underway to generate power for an entire region with kites. The British company, Kite Power Solutions, developed the wind based technology which is basically a hybrid kite-ballon power system that looks similar to parachutes. The kites can fly up to heights of 20,000 feet in elevation and generally move up and down in the regional wind currents to generate hundreds of megawatts of energy at a very low cost. So low that the manufacturer claims this kite power solution is lower in cost than most on/off-shore wind turbine solutions.

 The kites meaure approximately 131 feet wide and is capable of generating up to a constant rate of three megawatts of electricity through the kite cables that are connected to the rotational drum. It is the rotation of the drum through the pull of the kite and cables by the wind that actually creates the electricity. The use of this tech needs to be in areas of consistently high winds, however in the event that the winds do lessen, the kite has a small fan that will keep it up in the air until the wind speeds pick up again. In Scotland, there are fewer than 10 days a year that would require the use of the back-up fan.
There are numerous benefits of kite generated energy compared to the wind turbine alternative. The kites have a more non-evasive mobile footprint. A wind turbine needs to be stationary and rooted in a concrete foundation which has a negative impact on the ocean floor. The kites can also be operated in higher altitudes that generate more consitent wind speeds. Overall, the kites will be less of an eyesore in our more picturesque regions. Wind turbines are still a proven alternative wind energy solution, so either way, having another option allows for different regions to benefit and save costs.