Skysails Power System installed


Congratulations to SkySails on this key milestone, for ship-kite technology onshore, and best wishes for success.

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A major milestone for AWE community


A great first for AWES for power generation. Congratulations for this achievement.


More information on:

  • SkySails Power will be shipping first unit this week
  • Creating new jobs at sites in northern Germany

Hamburg, Germany, 25th of February, 2021

The Hamburg-based company SkySails Power GmbH is ready to deliver the first PN-14 airborne wind energy systems. The first unit of this pre-series will be shipped to Asia from the port of Hamburg this week. Further units for projects in Germany and on the island of Mauritius are on track for the first half of 2021.

The final assembly of the airborne wind energy systems takes place in Seevetal, Lower Saxony. The ground stations, weighing in at roughly 20 tons, are manufactured in a 900-square-meter production hangar along with the power generation unit and the kite’s launch and landing mast. It has already become apparent that the production facility’s current capacity will have to be significantly expanded in the coming years. SkySails Power GmbH currently employs around 90 people at locations in the Hamburg metropolitan area, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. “We will be creating numerous additional jobs in northern Germany in the coming years. Here at the Seevetal site, the focus will be on employing skilled workers in electrics and mechanics”, says SkySails CEO Stephan Wrage.


Hi @rschmehl , indeed there are some informations on:


The SKS PN-14 harnesses the wind at an altitude of 200 to 400 meters and also achieves high yields at low-wind sites. The system is safely employable in hurricane and typhoon regions, as it is easily retrieved and stowed away before these natural disasters occur. Thanks to its simple transportation and installation requirements, the SKS PN-14 can also be installed in places that are difficult to access.

The SKS PN-14 achieves a high amount of full load hours (up to 6,000 full load hours/year). It is the first time a renewable energy alternative can compete with conventional solutions such as brown coal for supplying baseload power.

Average cycle power / rated power 1
80-200 kW
Kite size (laid out) 1
90-180 m²
Operating wind range
3-25 m/s
Tether length
Tether diameter
14 mm
Ground station
30 ft container

Are there test reports with wind speeds, duration of reel-out and reel-in phases, power generated during reel-out phase, energy consumption during reel-in phase?


Nice to hear, after a gap of a couple of years, one of these products is supposedly flying somewhere. “You may see a kite”… and I guess you may not? Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but you must have begun to realize articles like this love to provide minimal details of the actual subject matter, quickly veering off into discussions of “the vast potential of wind energy”. Quickly steering the one-way “conversation” about their product away from any details of performance to generalities about “how much power is up there”, quoting a source or two, has always been the retreat of articles promoting newfangled wind energy hopeful-breakthroughs. The one that comes to mind for me is “Windtree” which was literally promoting photos of those round spinning roof vents with many fins as building-mounted wind energy systems, and selling “territories”. Selling “territories” was one more way of diverting attention from the product - all the hucksters needed was to keep insisting on the vastness of the wind energy resource, deftly bypassing any discussion of their actual product. The unspoken “nitty-gritty detail” of how much power their photos of roof vents were (not) making was avoided, as though, somehow the audience had missed that detail, but no worries, the story went on as though the efficacy of the product was well-understood and well-demonstrated. Anyway, we here know better than to think an article is equivalent to some sort of performance assessment meaningful to technical people. It is a fluff article intended for general readership, with the kind of “clickbait” appeal to draw in some eyeballs and continue “the narrative”. :slight_smile:

Some tests were performed and reported on several topics.

Figure 15 page 19 of the pre-print (pdf below): 92 kW average power, 12 m/s wind speed:

Authors: Lorenzo Fagiano, Manfred Quack, Florian Bauer, Lode Carnel, and Espen Oland
Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems 2022 5:1

Interesting presentation by Tobias Broening Skysails at the Nordisk Folkecenter International Conference for Small and Medium Wind Energy

especially the positive social impact insights

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More positive growth
Exciting strategy
And impressive operations data from Skysails

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Not sure I could sit thru another hour of kite-reeling talk, but I will note: I skipped ahead a few minutes and once again saw that graphic comparing winds at 10 meters AGL height to winds at 200 meters AGL height.
Meanwhile, the guy in the video just said wind turbine blades reach 200 m height anyway. So modern wind turbines already reach up into the same basic altitude range they are targeting anyway.
Yes, I’ve noticed, flying kites here in the wide-open Mojave Desert (in the wide-open backyard), a kite is still not quite even stable at a 10 meter height, and the pull on the string is not steady or strong. Just a few meters higher and the pull gets way stronger and steadier.
Meanwhile, modern wind turbines operate quite a bit higher than 10 meters.
So showing those worldwide wind color charts comparing 10 m winds to 200 m winds would seem to be a bit dishonest, designed to sway the viewer more than facts merit, in favor of the kites.
In other words, if wind turbines do not operate at 10 meters height, why do they compare their target wind resource to a 10 meter height?
Answer: Because it makes their advantage look more impressive than it really is. And remember, they just said regular turbine blades do reach up to 200 meters at the tips.
So that is where we can see a cherry-picking of what info to present, and in the case of the wind resource, the data shown is misleading.
Also, as Pierre points out, if you have an average output of less than ~100 kW, the competition might be a 250 kW wind turbine, which might be cost-competitive? Anyway, I was swayed by those graphics too, until I thought about it just a bit. :slight_smile:
Also, these systems seem like they might require a lot of maintenance as they age and especially if they regularly or even continuously operate.
So, as impressive as the presentations seem,

That’s an advantage Skysails offer… They do all of the operation & maintenance.
No surprising
Such a novel tech, you want everyone to keep their paws off.
They are doing all of their own manufacture for worldwide markets.
Did they say 80 systems sold? (That may have included shipping power)
Sounds like manufacture is scaling nicely
Listen at 2x speed if you get bored @dougselsam

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I thought I remembered eight (8). And that video was old, so is it still at 8?
Yes GE makes money on servicing jet engines, and car dealers make money on repairs - some say that is their main profit center.
Other than that you haven’t commented on my main point, which was realizing that comparison of wind at 10 meters to 200 meters does not reflect the real issue of height since no commercial systems operate at 10 m height, while existing wind turbine do reach up to 200 m.

Previously, if I searched Youtube for Skysails Mauritius, there were multiple copies of a 1 minute+ video showing a launch on what looked like the island. Today the same search returned nothing relevant. I’m thinking this is continuing to fit the well-established pattern in AWE of of “big announcement => nothingness”… Still seems like nothing is really going on in the wannabe field of AWE. :slight_smile:


Thanks for that link, AOKholm.
Somewhat similar to that other ~1-minute video that I had found on Youtube.
I’m sensing that, after nearly two years, there’s still not much happening with that system. :slight_smile:

OK I did find a couple of nearly identical articles from Spring 2022, saying the AWE system in Mauritius had been generating under 100 kW for about 2 months.

This is a quote from the second article:
“Launched in December by German company SkySails Power, the massive wing is the world’s first fully autonomous commercial “airborne wind energy” (AWE) system. For the past two months, the company says, it has been delivering a little under its goal of 100 kilowatts — typically enough to power up to 50 homes.”

I’m reading between the lines here:
We suffered the headlines in December 2020 of a factory producing these systems, sales underway, and the first one shipped to the remote island of Mauritius. That was almost two (2) years ago. After that: Over a year of silence - crickets…

Then these articles surface over a year later saying:

  1. Skysails (the manufacturer, not the customer) was operating the system
  2. It had been running for two (2) months.

We could interpret that to mean:

  1. The system was not run regularly for a year after being shipped to Mauritius, maybe because it wasn’t easy to run or worth the trouble(?)
  2. Skysails eventually felt the need to operate the system themselves, because the locals were not sufficiently skilled or interested to operate the “100% autonomous” system.(?)

Because of the typical information vacuum when it comes to AWE systems supposedly in operation, we have almost nothing to go on, so we can only guess, based on what little info we receive.

Also, let;s remember the two decades of previous statements from the company about pulling ships - they switched horses in midstream - this is called “mission creep”, where story goes on and on, while the “mission” keeps changing…

The articles specify that all their info comes from Skysails - the promoter.
They try to say the less-than-100kW output is powering 50 homes.
Here in a good wind resource, it takes a 10 kW machine to power one home, because it’s not always windy, so a 10 KW machine returns maybe an average of 2 kW or so… Maybe the tourist grass huts on Mauritius only need a little power, but let’s remember where we’ve seen the claims of powering X number of homes at remote location Y by date Z:

Altaeros enjoyed many articles claiming it was powering a remote village in Alaska - until, sensing fraud, I called the newspaper from that remote Alaskan village and asked how the flying wind turbine was doing and they didn’t even know what I was talking about. I had been saying I suspected the stories were lies for months before that. Why? Because if it had actually been operating, the promoters would have published videos and more stories.

Makani told us for years they were just about to power something like 50 or 100 homes in Hawaii - that never happened. The stories were repeated for a couple of years, but it was all hype - just a lot of B.S. - “news of the future”.

There is a saying in the tech startup world: “Fake it til you make it.”
But it often turns out to be: “Fake it til you break it.”
The main thing to realize is, in both cases, the operative action is “Fake it”.

Things I can’t help but notice about these Skysails in Mauritius “news” stories:

  1. It took over a year for the system to be placed into operation - why?.
  2. Apparently it was not run until Skysails themselves stepped in andstarted running it
  3. All the info comes from the company promoting the technology: Skysails
  4. We see little or zero info from the purchaser of the system, or anyone else on the island
  5. We see no comprehensive videos of actual operation on Mauritius - no footage of the kite flying its pattern or flying a complete power cycle
  6. We see no actual data, videos of power meters, or of the base station in operation.

I would expect if this first system they shipped were operating well, they would be showing the world how well it was working, with videos and more info such as actual data.

And now the promoters say they will run any system purchased - does this mean the “fully autonomous” system is so finicky that customers are unlikely to be able to run it? If a dedicated factory crew is now required to operate a “100% autonomous” system producing less than 100 kW when it is windy, how could the economics of such a system possibly work out? The people operating the system need to be paid - can that amount of electricity justify their cost?

This same dynamic has been going on for so long now that, while we can hope for the best, it almost feels like when someone’s girlfriend is screwing around behind their back and some friends try to tell the person things like “Well I did see that other guy’s car parked at her house early yesterday morning…”
And “the dude” is like “No I’m sorry I can’t believe it - she said she wouldn’t screw around on me again”.

In this case it seems like one more case of “We’re going to power X number of homes in remote location Y by date Z” -
then there is “the dude”, thinking:
“I’m sorry, but I just cant believe this same story could be false again”.

Well, think again. It would fit the pattern. Just sayin’… :slight_smile:

Hi Doug,

This does not mean that this system is viable. If this AWES could talk, it would say: “when I compare myself with conventional wind turbines, I feel sorry; but when I compare myself with other AWES, I feel better”.

Thanks for that good info, Pierre: Seen it a few times by now.
The info in that paper also does not mean the system on the island is even running. That info was for a demo or prototype unit running at a special test site in Germany where they could quickly fix whatever went wrong, right?
I’m still thinking that if the island-based system were running continuously for a long period, the company would be promoting the info, and we would see data and videos of it running its pattern with views of the output data - maybe a look at the meters… Sorry guys, but I’m not buying it. Heard this story too many times at this point. “Emperor’s New Clothes” meets “Boy Who Cried Wolf”. :slight_smile: