Project Summary

Wind energy is key for NWE to meet the Paris Agreements. NWE’s extended coastlines provide huge potential. But today’s wind turbines encounter limitations, both on-shore (space, public acceptance) and off-shore (space, water depth). SMEs in NWE are strongly positioned to develop a novel alternative that addresses these issues: Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES), aircraft tethered to compact ground-based generators. With AWES, new locations for wind energy can be unlocked (incl. floating offshore, rural onshore). Energy is harvested efficiently, reducing materials, foundations and carbon footprint, while lower visual impact can ease public acceptance.

MegaAWE brings utility-scale AWES ("MW-AWES") closer to the market, readying SMEs for its roll-out in NWE and beyond. It shall achieve this by:
- endurance demonstration, to improve investability and secure interest of utilities
- demonstration of key enabling modules at MW-scale, to derisk planning of commercial prototype demo
- an execution plan for MW-AWES commercial prototype demo, to ensure relevant innovation focus (incl. site & user requirements, design guidelines, system sizing & costing), validated by regions & users.

MegaAWE investment/outputs address the recommendations of the EU-commissioned 2018 Ecorys study on AWES:
- AWES test hub in Mayo, IE
- Precommercial AWES architecture demonstrated at 150kW in on-field pilot
- Three key enabling AWES modules at >1MW, demonstrated in-lab
- 20 Enterprises supported
- “MegaAWE” Platform, supporting MW-AWES development and future roll-out, matching needs & opportunities of regions & users with solutions of developers.

MegaAWE shall raise MW-AWES from TRL5 to 7, strengthen innovation capacity of 12 SMEs and secure supply chain & investment towards the next step, commercial demonstration. By 2033, 50 AWES installed (150MW capacity) could then provide RE to 150.000 additional households in NWE.

Project Partners

  • Airborne Wind Europe AISBL

    1 Avenue de la Renaissance

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  • Parkburn Precision Handling Systems

    26 Whistleberry Industrial Estate
    ML3 0ED
    United Kingdom

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  • Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

    National Renewable Energy Centre, Offshore House, Albert Street
    Blyth, Northumberland
    NE24 1LZ
    United Kingdom

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  • BlueWise Marine

    GMIT iHubs Galway, Dublin Road Galway
    H91 DCH9

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  • RWE Renewables GmbH

    74 Kruppstrasse

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  • Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques - Limburg

    1470 Chaussée de Haecht

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  • European Marine Energy Center

    Charles Clouston Building, Back Road
    Stromness, Orkney
    KW16 3AW
    United Kingdom

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  • Europaeisches Institut fuer Innovation - Technologie e.V.

    1/1 Universitaetspark
    Schwaebisch Gmuend

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  • Bretagne Développement Innovation

    1 bis Rue de Fougères

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  • Mayo County Council

    Aras an Chontae

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Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Mayo County Council Aras an Chontae
Name Contact Name Email Country
Airborne Wind Europe AISBL Udo Zillmann Belgium
Parkburn Precision Handling Systems Sam Bull United Kingdom
Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Thomas Wildsmith United Kingdom
BlueWise Marine Louise O'Boyle Ireland
RWE Renewables GmbH Anika Borm Germany
Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques - Limburg Peter Reynaert Belgium
European Marine Energy Center Matthew Finn United Kingdom
Europaeisches Institut fuer Innovation - Technologie e.V. Chris Ashe Germany
Bretagne Développement Innovation Hélène Morin France
Kitepower Johannes Peschel Netherlands



MegaAWE introduction video

Here you will find publications and White Papers in relation to Airborne Wind Energy

Overview of project achievements

The MegaAWE project was planned to support the development of Airbourne Wind Energy in the NWE region through construction of a test hub and development of key technologies including aircraft & materials, tethers, & generators.

  • Biggest problems in AWE were
  • Lack of suitable test sites in NWE to test and demonstrate AWE technologies
  • Low level of technology readiness in key areas, aircraft materials, tethers & generators, having only been demonstrated in-lab or on early prototypes for short periods and thereby reducing investability
  • Lack of awareness by policy makers and in industry of AWE technologies as a potential renewable solution
  • Lack of permitting framework within EU for AWE deployments

MegaAWE was led by Mayo County Council in partnership with RWE, Airbourne Wind Europe, Kitepower, The European Marine Energy Centre, Fuchszeug, BlueWise Marine, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Parkburn, Ampyx, SABCA, EIFI-Tech, Bretagne Développement Innovation & Siemens. The project was also supported by a number of sub-partners.

Despite significant challenges experienced during the course of the project including the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit & Ukraine war, the project partners achieved significant success in delivering project goals and outputs.


Highlights of main achievements

  • RWE Airbourne Wind Energy test hub in Co. Mayo, Ireland planned, permitted, constructed and opened
  • Successful permitting, deployment and operation of Kitepower’s 100kW Falcon kite system on the RWE test hub which continues into 2024
  • First flight tests of Fuchszeug’s 150kW rigid wing AP-3 pilot successfully carried out
  • Development and testing of aircraft, tether & generator technologies to aid in the advancement of the next generation of AWE devices and increasing the TRL’s from 5 to 6.
  • Country level analysis of several EU regions carried out to aid developers identify potential suitable sites for future deploymen
  • Workshops were held to develop conceptual solutions for several AWE systems to put the landing platform elevated in offshore conditions which is suited to MW grid scale deployments.


Highlight of key outputs

  • 19 new jobs created and 61 jobs maintained in all economic sectors
  • €10.8m funding leveraged by the project
  • Strengthening of the AWE supply chain by supporting 9 enterprises including 2 to introduce new to the market products and 7 enterprises co-operating with research institutions
  • Increased the visibility and understanding of AWE by public, political, academia & industry through project achievements & publicity, reaching over 96,000 people.


As a follow on to MegaAWE, project DEM-AWE has been approved and has kicked off to demonstrate combining AWE with battery storage to provide a solution that can replace diesel generators in remote areas. For more information, please visit

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