31 March, 2023 Member article

Airborne Wind Energy is ready to contribute to the 5% target for innovative technologies

Brussels, 27 March 2023 – These days, the trilogue negotiations on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) enter into their final phase. The Airborne Wind Energy sector welcomes the proposed 5% target for innovative renewable energy technologies and calls on all parties to support it.

In the course of the revision of the RED, the European Parliament proposed that “in order to promote the production and use of renewable energy from innovative renewable energy technologies and to safeguard the Unions industrial competitiveness, each Member State shall set an indicative target of at least 5% of new installed renewable energy capacity between [2023] and 2030 as innovative renewable energy technology”.

The Airborne Wind Energy sector sees this target as a crucial strategic provision which emphasizes the importance of continued innovation in the energy sector.

Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) offers a great opportunity for the EU and the Member States because it can make a significant contribution to reach this target. AWE complements other renewable energy technologies by accessing the untapped high-altitude wind resource. AWE systems can be deployed in areas that are unsuitable for established wind power, saving up to 90% in materials, thus helping to reduce dependence on global supply chains.

A recent White Paper by BVG Associates estimates that almost one gigawatt of Airborne Wind Energy can be deployed by 2030 and several hundred gigawatts can be reached by 2050. The first commercial systems are already available today, ready to be connected to the European grid as well as for deployment on islands and in remote areas.

Especially for those countries where other forms of innovative RE technologies like floating offshore wind are not feasible, AWE can be the technology of choice. The upcoming revision of the National Energy and Climate Plans can thus be used for including AWE into national strategies, ideally even as part of a joint “European Airborne Wind Energy Strategy”.

Considering AWE as contributor to the 5% target would also strengthen the EU and Member States in terms of industry renewal, job creation, innovation and export, as about ten AWE technology developers and more than 50 companies and research institutes active in the AWE sector are located in Europe.

Therefore, we count on all negotiating parties to establish the 5% target for innovative renewable energy technologies in the Renewable Energy Directive. It will be an important cornerstone to unleash the full potential of Airborne Wind Energy in contributing to the energy transition in Europe.