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MegaAWE- Maturing Utility-scale Airborne Wind Energy towards Commercialization

Wind energy is key for North-West Europe (NWE) to meet the Paris Agreements and for Ireland to secure a future of net-zero carbon emissions. North-West Europe’s extended coastlines provide huge potential for wind energy generation. However, today’s wind turbines encounter limitations, both onshore (space, public acceptance) and offshore (space, water depth).

SMEs in NWE are strongly positioned to develop a novel alternative that addresses these issues: Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES). These systems comprise aircraft tethered to compact ground-based generators and allow new locations for wind energy development to be unlocked (incl. floating offshore, rural onshore). Energy is harvested efficiently, reducing materials, foundations and carbon footprint, while lower visual impact can ease public acceptance.

MegaAWE is an Interreg NWE funded project and will run from 2020 to 2023 and has a total budget of €12.29 million.

BlueWise Marine is part of this consortium led by Mayo County Council and funded by the Interreg NWE Regional Development Fund to bring these systems closer to commercialisation. MegaAWE will bring utility-scale AWES ("MW-AWES") closer to the market, readying SMEs for its roll-out in NWE and beyond. It shall achieve this by:

  • endurance demonstration, to improve investability and secure interest of utilities
  • demonstration of key enabling modules at MW-scale, to de-risk planning of commercial prototype demo
  • an execution plan for MW-AWES commercial prototype demo, to ensure relevant innovation focus (incl. site & user requirements, design guidelines, system sizing & costing), validated by regions & users.

MegaAWE investment/outputs address the recommendations of the EU-commissioned 2018 Ecorys study on AWES:

  • AWES test hub in Mayo, IE
  • Precommercial AWES architecture demonstrated at 150kW in on-field pilot
  • Three key enabling AWES modules at >1MW, demonstrated in-lab
  • 20 Enterprises supported
  • “MegaAWE” Platform, supporting MW-AWES development and future roll-out, matching needs & opportunities of regions & users with solutions of developers.

MegaAWE shall raise MW-AWES from TRL5 to 7, strengthen innovation capacity of 12 SMEs and secure supply chain & investment towards the next step, commercial demonstration. By 2033, 50 AWES installed (150MW capacity) could then provide RE to 150.000 additional households in NWE.

More information available on the project website: https://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/megaawe-maturing-utility-scale-airborne-wind-energy-towards-commercialization/

Project partners: 

Lead Partner: Mayo County Council
Project Partners:
Airborne Wind Europe AISBL    
Ampyx Power B.V.    
Parkburn Precision Handling Systems    
Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult    
Kiteswarms GmbH    
BlueWise Marine    
RWE Renewables GmbH    
Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques - Limburg    
European Marine Energy Center    Matthew Finn    
Europaeisches Institut fuer Innovation - Technologie e.V.    
Bretagne Développement Innovation