Producing Airborne Wind Energy on The Afsluitdijk

Electricity generation during daylight, dusk & night.

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Kitepower on the Afsluitdijk

In January 2018, Kitepower operated one of its systems on the Afsluitdjik – the unique as much as famous 32km long dike built for coastal protection land reclamation in the Netherlands. The dike separates the Unesco and Natura 2000 protected Wadden Sea from the Ijsselmeer as a semi-enclosed sea while connecting the provinces of North Holland and Friesland through a highway.

For the Kitepower team, this was the first time it operated a unit in a public location over a continuous period of time covering daylight, dusk and darkness. Above that, it was the first time that a Kitepower system was operational in an environmentally and culturally protected area. To achieve this milestone of flying within the confined space on the Afsluitdijk close to highway traffic, operational safety was the number one priority.

The system was placed on a small land broadening on the western side of the dike close to the city of Den Oever. The engineering team successfully managed the challenging location at only 50m of distance from ongoing highway traffic with a limited operating height of around 150m and therefore strong restrictions on the tolerable wind directions and speeds had to be taken in account. Our Kitepower system efficaciously integrated with the Wadden Sea‘s fragile environment.

Views of the 20kW Kitepower system deployed on the Afsluitdijk

The Afsluitdijk and the Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is an intertidal zone in the south-eastern part of the North Sea stretching from the Netherlands over Germany to Denmark along a total coastline of 500km. It is famous for its rich flora and fauna, especially its birds. The Wadden Sea is thus inscribed on the UNESCO‘s world heritage list since 2009 and part of the Natura 2000 network of nature protection areas in the territory of the European Union.

The Afsluitdijk separates the semi-enclosed sea of Ijsselmeer from the open Wadden Sea and was constructed in 1932 for the purpose of land reclamation and coastal protection. The dike is 32km long and 90m wide. As a large part of the Netherlands is located below sea level, dike and dam constructions are an important civil works to prevent floods.