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Airborne Wind Europe learned recently of the decision of the court of The Hague to grant ‘suspension of payments’ to member company Ampyx Power. The court has appointed a trustee to investigate options and find new investors. Founded in 2008, Ampyx has been a key player in the development of airborne wind energy systems (AWES). While Ampyx successfully, and repeatedly, demonstrated the technical viability of its systems, the deployment of new technologies is notoriously complex and costly, and such setbacks are typical in a development cycle.

The fundamental concepts of airborne wind energy have been proven. The industry has introduced radically new ideas underpinned by solid business plans for innovative solutions with the potential to scale up. This technology can yet play a unique role in the energy transition, but further funding is still required to bring airborne wind energy to the wider market. The sector requires partners, investment, and regulatory support to facilitate further rounds of testing and product development.

Over the past 10 years, AWES have made significant research and development advancements and the technology is quickly progressing. At least 15 companies in Europe and the United States continue to invest in further research and the testing needed to bring the technology to a commercial level. Certain projects are conducted in partnership with significant utility players and small-scale systems have already been commercialised.

AWES has huge potential to be a very cost-effective way to harvesting wind energy by increasing the usability of deployment sites for off-shore re-powering, deep off-shore and remote on-shore. Airborne wind energy is increasingly attracting the attention of governments, policymakers and industry worldwide, recently featuring in a UN report on emerging energy technologies and a US Department of Energy report. Further engagement and support from policy maker is needed for the sector to develop further.

Airborne wind remains a strong, evolving sector and AWEurope wishes Ampyx Power well in their efforts to reboot the company.