Policies for Airborne Wind Energy - Preparing the grounds for AWE-specific incentive schemes - Scoping Study
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 pullpolicies,
i.e. revenue support through FiT or tenders, are not yet of 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 the
European 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 may
- 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.