South Scotland

West Freugh kite power project set to expand after investment

KPS Image copyright KPS
Image caption David Ainsworth and Keith Brown inspected the demonstration model being built in Dumfries

A £2m equity investment could see staff numbers rise sharply at a south of Scotland wind energy project.

Kite Power Systems received the support from the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

The company currently employs a small team of five at the West Freugh air base near Stranraer where it is testing a small-scale prototype.

The workforce could rise to 30 next year on the back of the latest investment.

The company's technology uses two kites which turn spool drums to produce electricity.

It announced £5m of investment last year and Dumfries firm Kellwood engineering is currently helping to build a larger demonstration model.

Image copyright KPS

It is hoped the workforce could eventually run to hundreds with each kite able to generate similar energy to a 100m wind turbine.

KPS business development director David Ainsworth said the project had huge economic potential.

"The cost of electricity from this technology could be half the cost of offshore wind using conventional wind turbines," he said.

"The reason we can actually achieve those low costs is that the mass of the system is around 20% of that of a comparable horizontal axis wind turbine.

"Capital cost is driven by mass, if you can get the mass down you can get the capital cost down."

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the technology showed "great promise".

"Scotland has recently moved into the top group of EU nations as regards innovation performance, and the commercialisation of novel ideas - such as the technology being developed by Kite Power Systems - will help to drive us even further forward," he added.

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