Kitepower: A Resilient Energy System
Disaster Aftermath: Fossil fuel power plants vs Renewables.
Disaster Aftermath: Fossil fuel power plants vs Renewables
The dangers of coal plants were once again highlighted during Hurricane Florence. The storm has not only destroyed tens of thousands of homes and left the people of North Carolina in despair; it has also left the water muddied and grey from toxic waste. People are being advised to steer clear of local water altogether, boil before using if absolutely necessary while swimming is strictly off the table (1).
This is not the first time extreme weather conditions have left coal plants to be found wanting, both environmentally as well as in their reliability. Residents who rely on coal power were left without electricity for weeks, whereas solar and wind power bounced back the next day. While these renewable sources are on the increase they still currently only make up 5% of total power usage in North Carolina and roughly 16% globally (2). They are not only greener due to their constantly replenished sources but are also safer and more resilient than their counterparts. Wind power works especially well in coastal regions due to the abundance of strong, steady wind. It is also these areas that are often most effected by storms, hurricanes and subsequent power outages.
The water is muddied but the message is clear
Traditional wind farms are fairly costly and there are often local concerns about aesthetics, they also use a great deal of material and have to be shut down during extremely strong winds to prevent mechanical damage. Kitepower, on the other hand, uses less material for a higher return, as well as being elegant, virtually invisible and hurricane proof. Due to the ease of setting up the Kitepower systems it results in location flexibility, making them a valuable asset in relief efforts(3). We should not, however, wait until disasters strike to utilise these systems, the muddied water of North Carolina leaves us with a crystal clear conclusion: rely on the resilience of Kitepower.
In 2017, Kitepower was chosen among 150 startups to contribute to “Kick-Start Sint Maarten“, a recovery campaign after hurricane Irma hit the island in the Netherlands Antilles on September 6th.