SkySails Power

Unleashing the true potential of wind power

Since December 2019, a red and white striped kite flies its courses in the sky of Klixbüll. The company SkySails Power GmbH operates a so-called airborne wind energy system at this site. For the first time ever, airborne wind energy systems allow to tap the energy resources of the wind at several hundred meters. Since the wind is more powerful and steady in higher altitudes, airborne wind energy systems can achieve a very constant production of green electricity. The impact on the landscape for the construction of these systems is comparatively small. The light as well as compact design also allows the installation in areas that are difficult to access. At the same time, thanks to their material-saving design, airborne wind energy systems conserve valuable resources and are particularly environmentally friendly in operation. 

SkySails Power: Operation of Airborne Wind Energy System

SkySails Power: How does a kite work?

Overall, airborne wind energy systems represent a forward-looking addition to existing technologies for sustainable power generation and can further accelerate the expansion of a decentralized renewable energy supply in Germany as well as internationally. 

An airborne wind energy system consists of a large kite connected by a tether to a winch in a ground station. The kites used in Klixbüll are between 90 and 120 m² in size. For energy production, the automatically controlled power kite rises in figures of eight, driven by the wind. As it gains altitude, it unwinds a tether from a winch on the ground. The tractive force drives a generator inside the winch that produces electricity. Once the tether has reached its maximum extension of 800 meters, the autopilot steers the kite into a neutral position with minimal drag and lift. While consuming only a fraction of the energy generated before, the generator now acts as a motor and reels-in the tether. The system continuously repeats this process, flying the kite at an altitude of 100 to 400 meters. Energy generated by the airborne wind energy system can be fed into the grid, stored in batteries, or directly consumed. 

The turbine in North Friesland was originally built as part of the "SkyPower100" project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and involving SkySails Power GmbH, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, Omexom Renewable Energies Offshore GmbH and Leibniz Universität Hannover. The project was successfully completed in the summer of 2022.

SkyPower100 is the world's most comprehensive project to demonstrate an automated airborne wind energy system. This makes Klixbuell the site with by far the longest operating experience of airborne wind energy systems worldwide. The comprehensive permits for the site in North Friesland enabled the plant to be operated under ideal conditions and now serve as a model for the planning of airborne wind energy projects all over the world. Following the successful completion of the project, all necessary permits have been obtained to continue the operation of the plant.