The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Google Reels In Wind-Kite Firm Makani

Extending its already deep reach into renewable energy, Google reportedly has acquired a startup and its flying-kite wind turbines that promise to tap better wind energy resources at higher altitudes with far lower costs and more efficient output.

Google, no stranger to clean energy as both a purchaser and investor of large-scale wind and solar power, reportedly has acquired Makani Power and its flying kite-design wind turbine, after years of being a major investor in the firm. Makani would be paired up with the Google X research labs, whose early-stage offspring include driverless cars and Google Glass. BusinessWeek's Brad Stone says Google CEO Larry Page finally approved the deal which was proposed a year ago, with the stipulation that they must "crash at least five of the devices in the near future" — presumably amid efforts to prove and improve the technology's performance and reliability.

We've looked at Makani and similar high-flying wind technology innovations in the past, but here's the Makani pitch in a nutshell: its Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) flies in a big circle within stronger winds at 800-2,000-foot altitudes, with rotors designed to act as both a turbine and as a propeller; direct-drive generators send electricity back down its tether to a ground station. The AWT could be reeled in and "perched" and then reeled out again during extended periods of low wind or bad weather, or for maintenance. It's especially well suited for deployment in areas less favorable to traditional tower-based designs, such as lower-wind-speed areas and offshore (especially deeper water).

Makani says the AWT delivers about twice the energy per unit of capacity than conventional turbines, producing power at half the cost, and using 90 percent less material. The company touts a cost of energy competitive with conventional wind in the best existing wind sites (e.g. Kansas), and less than half the price in other areas such as offshore. Individual power output is small; models tested so far are 30-kW with plans to scale up to 600-kW, but conceivably many could be strung to collectively produce a few megawatts.

Earlier this month the company completed its first fully autonomous flight of its Wing 7 prototype. "We look forward to working with our new colleagues at Google[x] to make airborne wind a cost-effective reality," Makani says in a statement on its Web site.

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now


wind energy

Interior Plans November Auction for Offshore New Jersey Wind Energy Rights

Wayne Barber U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...

Sage Grouse Removed as Threat to Biggest Wind Farm in U.S.

Christopher Martin, Bloomberg Billionaire Phil Anschutz’s plans to build a $5 billion wind farm in southeast Wyoming will no longer be stymied by t...


Array Technologies Finalizes Shipments to E.ON’s Maricopa West Solar Project

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has completed DuraTrack® HZ shipments to the 20 MW (ac) ...

Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World Magazines Name Projects of the Year Awards Finalists

Tulsa, Okla. and Nashua, N.H., Oct. 5, 2015 -- The editors of Power Engineering and Ren...

Sun Xtender® Launches New Website at

The newly designed website for Sun Xtender solar batteries is now live on the World Wid...

Canadian Solar Closes Purchase of Ontario Assets from KKR

Canadian Solar Purchased 3 Solar Power Plants Totaling 59.8 MW AC from KKR


energy efficiency

Beyond the Trend: Maximizing the Impact of Your Energy Efficiency Solution

A revolution is happening in the energy sector. From the new regulations pushed out earlier this summer by the EPA’s ...

Why the Solar PV Industry Should Love Geothermal Heat Pumps Pt 2

It’s a marriage made in heaven: Solar PV and Geothermal Heat Pumps Part 2 of a 6-Part Series Prevailing Heati...

The Whirlwind Known As Tradeshow Season 2015

Wow. What a tradeshow season 2015 is turning out to be! Hot on the heels of Intersolar and SPI, next week we’re...


Jim is Contributing Editor for, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Doing Business in Europe – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

There is now 128.8 GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU (appro...

JuiceBox Energy Certified Installer Class

JuiceBox Energy is rapidly building out its national certified installer...

Wind Operator Congress Europe

The UK’s only business-focused O&M event for the European wind...


Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

Koch Professor drops his Koch title, still makes same errors plus s...

The Koch Professor’s title isn’t the only thing that’s...

Fact Check: AWEA represents American wind power

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is proud of its members for ...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now