Greening the Islands Foundation

The inclusion of AWE within the German Renewable Energy Act represents an outstanding opportunity for islands

Getting Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) into the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) marks the world’s first remuneration specific to AWE, significantly reducing market risks for investments in German and European high-tech companies. It also creates a crucial foundation for AWE to make a substantial contribution to the energy transition, and increasing policy makers awareness scaling up technology’s relevance by providing real and useful data.

Germany has set an ambitious goal to become climate-neutral by 2045, with a nearly doubled share of renewable energies by 2030. To meet this target, the rate of renewable energy expansion must triple. AWE can play a pivotal role in this transition. These systems (AWES) generate electricity using automated flying devices or kites tethered to a ground station, harnessing strong winds at altitudes of 400-800 meters with minimal material input. AWES can access wind power in locations unsuitable for conventional wind technology, a feature particularly advantageous for islands where AWE presents a groundbreaking opportunity to generate renewable energy locally.

Current renewable technologies are often impractical for islands due to space constraints, logistical challenges, and the necessity for extensive infrastructure. AWES are lightweight and flexible, making them easy to deploy in diverse and often challenging locations, ideally suited to the unique geographic and environmental conditions of islands.

The recent EEG amendment, part of the “solar package”, delivers the political support for AWE that the industry has long advocated. This significant legislative change recognizes the potential and relevance of AWE technology, providing banks and investors with greater financial certainty. This assurance is vital for securing the capital needed by AWE companies, fostering job creation, opening new growth markets, and highlighting Germany and Europe’s positions as industrial leaders.

The inclusion of AWE in the EEG will also enhance the technology’s visibility in research and development funding at both national and EU levels. This increased focus will strengthen the academic landscape, with Europe’s top technical universities, such as TU Munich, Politecnico di Milano, TU Delft, and RWTH Aachen already active in the field and training future engineers and specialists in renewable energies.

However, the AWE sector has to continue chasing political support as an essential request to go to a regular market, particularly regarding authorisation, airspace integration, and financing. The successful inclusion of AWES into the renewable energy landscape will depend on addressing these critical areas.

The inclusion of AWE in the German EEG represents a pivotal moment for the industry and an outstanding opportunity for islands worldwide. By harnessing high-altitude winds, islands can achieve better energy independence, sustainability, and resilience, paving the way for a greener future.

Author of the article: Kristian Petrick, Secretary General of Airborne Wind Europe

Airborne Wind Europe

Airborne Wind Europe

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