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Publisher: SkySails Power GmbH

Wind Power of the Future: Germany's First Airborne Wind Energy System Successfully Evaluated According to Aviation Law

- The project partners SkySails Power, EnBW, EWE OSS, and Leibniz Universität Hannover have successfully tested the operation of an airborne wind energy system employing power kites of up to 120 m² in Schleswig-Holstein.

Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Hannover, Oldenburg (renewablepress) - Germany's first airborne wind energy system has passed a series of essential tests in Schleswig-Holstein. The pilot unit can now go into continuous operation. The evaluation according to aviation law requirements included the validation of operational and safety concepts for day and nighttime operation.

The pilot unit was constructed as part of the "SkyPower100" project funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. SkySails Power GmbH, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, EWE Offshore Service & Solutions GmbH, and Leibniz Universität Hannover are jointly gathering valuable insights into environmental influences, safety aspects, and approval requirements for the development and scaling of future airborne wind energy systems. Specific data includes surveys on noise emissions, avifauna, and air traffic safety.

Airborne wind energy systems tap into the continuous and steadier winds at altitudes of up to 800 meters. These winds enable a very stable electricity production that allows for a more significant and more reliable wind-driven power supply. The construction of such systems also has a lesser impact on the landscape than conventional wind turbines. The light and compact design also allow their deployment in areas that are difficult to access. Their slim design minimalizes shadow casting and noise emissions, thereby creating a particularly small impact on humans and animals. Consequently, airborne wind energy systems represent a forward-looking addition to existing wind turbines and further accelerate the development of a decentralized renewables supply in Germany and the world.

Airborne wind energy systems consist of a ground station with a winch and an integrated generator. To produce energy, an automatically controlled power kite pulls a tether from the winch. The tractive force is transferred to the generator, which produces electricity. Once the tether has reached its maximum extension, the autopilot steers the kite into a neutral position. The generator now acts as a motor and retracts the tether, while consuming only a fraction of the energy generated during the work phase. The excess energy is fed into the grid, and the power cycle starts over.

The power kites used on the pilot unit have a size of up to 120 m². For the realization of the project, a Flight Restriction Area (ED-R) was established for the project location in close cooperation with the Aviation Authority of Schleswig-Holstein, the Federal Ministry of Transport, the surrounding communities, the DRF Luftrettung as well as the air sports association. The experience gained from the ED-R operation is an essential step for the future definition of approval processes of airborne wind energy systems.

Find more information on the "SkyPower100" project at

Gefördert durch:
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie aufgrund eines Beschlusses des Deutschen Bundestages

About SkySails Power GmbH

SkySails Power GmbH develops and markets systems for generating electricity from high-altitude wind - so-called airborne wind energy systems. SkySails power kites are the key technology for this next generation of wind power.

The company draws on the experience and expertise of its parent company SkySails Group GmbH, developer of the well-known SkySails wind propulsion system for cargo ships. SkySails is the first company in the world to have succeeded in developing power kite technology on an industrial level with kites of up to 400 m² in size, delivering up to 2,000 kW of power.

The SkySails technology is patented worldwide, and the company has access to a strong network of strategic partners.

SkySails Power GmbH coordinates the SkyPower100 project and contributes its know-how and operational experience in automated kite systems. It is responsible for the development, production, installation, and testing of the pilot system.

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About EWE Offshore Service & Solutions GmbH

As a service company, EWE OSS advises, accompanies and supports its customers in offshore wind farm projects and offers solutions with the EWE group's proven 360° experience. The planning and implementation, as well as the operation of an offshore plant, are complex tasks that require sound specialist knowledge and many years of experience.

The company, founded in 2012, has grown from a pioneer to an experienced player in the offshore industry both in Germany and abroad. The interdisciplinary team of around 60 offshore specialists is currently working on projects including alpha ventus, Riffgat, Gemini, and Trianel Windpark Borkum I & II. EWE OSS is a subsidiary of EWE AG.

In the SkyPower 100 project, EWE Offshore Service & Solution GmbH is responsible for site selection, project planning, approval, development, foundation work, and grid connection of the airborne wind energy system.

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About EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG

With over 21,000 employees, EnBW is one of the largest energy companies in Germany and Europe. It supplies around 5.5 million customers with electricity, gas, water, energy solutions, and energy-related services. EnBW plans to invest more than five billion euros in the further expansion of renewable energies by 2025. In the wind power sector, the company offers a one-stop-shop solution for planning, construction, operation, maintenance, and repair. The aim is to operate onshore and offshore wind power plants with a total output of at least 3,500 megawatts by 2025.

As part of the SkyPower 100 research project, EnBW is investigating the individual approval situation in countries with good high altitude wind potentials.

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About Leibniz Universität Hannover - Institute for Drive Systems and Power Electronics

The Institute of Drive Systems and Power Electronics (IAL) is directed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Mertens and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Ponick. Approximately 45 scientific employees conduct research in the entire field of electrical drive technology from the microwatt to the multi-megawatt range in the areas of electrical machines and drive systems, power electronics, and drive control.

The work focuses on developing analytical and numerical calculation methods for electrical machines, the simulation of transient processes in electrical drives, the electrical, electromagnetic and thermal design of drive systems, and the control of drives.

In the SkyPower 100 project, the IAL is responsible for the design and investigation of the airborne wind energy systems drive train.

Find out more at

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Caption: SkySails Power airborne wind energy system in operation
© SkySails Group

Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Hannover, Oldenburg, 29 July 2020

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Media contact:

SkySails Power GmbH (Project Coordinator)
Nina Großmann
Tel: +49 (0)40 702 99 0

SkySails Power GmbH (Project Coordinator)
Luisenweg 40
20537 Hamburg


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