I see now that the airush kite is no longer on the market, possibly replaced by a single strut kite. In this interview, North’s designer Pat Goodman (previously Cabrinha) states that five struts are necessary to deal with gusty winds. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=18ISe4gZ1h0
To be honest, making a power plant that does not tackle varying and bad wind is a showstopper. So though not necessary for a proof of concept, it is a worthwhile discussion.
A kite for AWE must be able to be used in a wide range of winds. The wind close to ground is probably very weak. When landing, a low mass will make sure the stall speed is as low as possible, so that you dont need to land really hard and heavy. When looping without multi kite speed support, the mass will have a massively detrimental effect on power generation. When crashing, low mass reduces the impact energy.
I am not sure if large LEIs are suitable for large scale utility power generation. They may be suited for smaller scale stuff, eg Kitewinder scale and a bit bigger. To be honest I think at this scale LEI kites are more suitable than most foil kites due to easier handling alone, but I also believe the performance is quite good, especially if the mass is reduced further.
I think the main issues with LEI is the Anhedral wing, the bridle being very low relative to CG and the issues placing control units directly on the wing (rather having a pod with weak mechanical coupling to the kite).
Given an ovean of possibilities and problems, I am just pondering about the LEI and its possibilities in AWE…