Wind Turbines? Try a Wind Kite

Wind power might be clean and renewable energy, but is it efficient?

It turns out that modern wind turbines could use some innovation. The best wind—meaning the most powerful and constant wind—blows at high altitudes. To reach it, turbine manufacturers have tried to build wide, sturdy bases made of heavy steel. Then they’re shipped far distances to be assembled on rural land.

So why not get rid of the base? That’s the premise at work at Makani Power, a quirky wind power start-up in Alameda, California, trying to design the equivalent of a high tech kite. It flies at high altitudes, up to 1,900 feet, and sends electricity back to the ground through a tether. When it’s windy the super-light kite can

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