Value-Driven System Design of Utility-Scale Airborne Wind Energy

R. Joshi, Michiel Kruijff, R. Schmehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In the current auction-based electricity market, the design of utility-scale renewable energy systems has traditionally been driven by the levelised cost of energy (LCoE). However, the market is gradually moving towards a subsidy-free era, which will expose the power plant owners to the fluctuating prices of electricity. This paper presents a computational approach to account for the influence of time-varying electricity prices on the design of airborne wind energy (AWE) systems. The framework combines an analytical performance model, providing the power curve of the system, with a wind resource characterisation based on ERA5 reanalysis data. The resulting annual energy production (AEP) model is coupled with a parametric cost model based on reference prototype data from Ampyx Power B.V. extended by scaling laws. Ultimately, an energy price model using real-life data from the ENTSO-E platform maintained by the association of EU transmission system operators was used to estimate the revenue profile. This framework was then used to compare the performance of systems based on multiple economic metrics within a chosen design space. The simulation results confirmed the expected behaviour that the electricity produced at lower wind speeds has a higher value than that produced at higher wind speeds. To account for this electricity price dependency on wind speeds in the design process, we propose an economic metric defined as the levelised profit of energy (LPoE). This approach determines the trade-offs between designing a system that minimises cost and designing a system that maximises value.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2075
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • airborne wind energy
  • day-ahead electricity market
  • merit order effect
  • levelised cost of energy
  • levelised profit of energy
  • system design
  • value factor


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