Weatherwatch: The future is kite powered

Wind turbines are controversial. They are accused of being blots on the landscape, expensive to run and need good winds to work. But the critics could be silenced with a totally new way of generating wind power – using kites. This is a serious proposition. Power-generating kites are far more sophisticated than toy kites, and designed like aircraft wings capable of flying in most conditions.

They are far cheaper to build, install and maintain than huge wind turbines, and because they are smaller than turbines they’re less likely to spoil views of the landscape. Perhaps most compelling of all, kites are so efficient they can generate electricity at roughly the same cost as coal-fired power stations. Much of that efficiency is because the kites reach far higher than wind turbines, so they tap into much stronger and more consistent winds at around 1,300ft height, roughly four times higher than the tallest wind turbine (measured to the hub of the turbine blades). And they turn more of that wind into electricity.

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