Airborne Wind Energy Policy Scoping Study 2018

Policies for Airborne Wind Energy – Preparing the grounds forAWE-specific incentive schemes

Scoping Study – January 2018

Airborne Wind Europe prepared a policy scoping study in 2018. Its aim was to assess the relevance of policy changes required for the success of Airborne Wind Energy as well as possible means to achieve such policy changes.

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Executive Summary

The Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) sector is poised to grow with several companies planning to commercialize their systems in the next years. Several challenges still need to be overcome, the entrance into the highly competitive and regulated European electricity markets being one of them. To become a player in these markets, a good understanding of the broader policy and industrial context and strategies on the European as well as on Member State level is crucial.

In the context of this scoping study a number of interviews were conducted with AWE companies, policy makers on EU and national level as well as other stakeholders. It became clear that policy matters for AWE has not received much attention but there was wide consensus that AWE policies need to get into the focus if the sector wants to be successful.

This study discusses the policy related lessons learned from other renewable energy technology like wind, PV and ocean energy, showing that also the AWE technology will require specific policy support to reach its full potential. A number of European push policies, i.e. support schemes and programmes that provide R&D or investment support, are briefly presented; some of them have already been used by AWE companies, others may provide opportunities for the future. At the moment AWE-specific pull policies,i.e. revenue support through FiT or tenders, are not yet on the agenda of policy makers, but it may be helpful to start the preparatory discussions. The (high-level) analysis of the EU State Aid Guidelines for energy projects shows that member states could justify AWE-specific support schemes.

The years 2018-20 offer a unique opportunity for the AWE sector to not only become more visible to policy makers, investors and other stakeholders, but to potentially influence the (re-)design of some of the funding programmes to better respond to the needs of the AWE sector.

To do so, the sector needs to collaborate much more closely. The sooner joint activities, projects and processes can be established, the faster the sector will be able to reach its potential. The creation of theEuropean association Airborne Wind Europe can help bringing the AWE companies closer together and raising the sector’s profile and visibility by initiating a number of joint activities. These activities mayinclude:

  • Defining a “sector wish-list” towards policy makers (as input to EC study)
  • Developing a European AWE policy road map up to 2025 incl. funding needs
  • Developing a consistent storyline for communication
  • Getting visible towards EC, Member States and Funding Programmes
  • Reaching out to WindEurope, ETIP Wind and other networks
  • Advocating for AWE-specific, common test and demonstration sites
  • Joint activities on safety, airspace regulation, standards, etc.

The next years will be crucial for the future of the AWE sector. By getting prepared in the field of policies and support schemes, the chances of successfully reaching the commercialization phase will significantly increase. Airborne Wind Europe is committed to provide the support required to define and achieve the sector’s goals.