A recent experiment performed by a team of researchers from the Delft University in Netherlands (aka country of wind mills) used kites to transform the wind power into electricity. They created 10kW of electricity with their project, which is sufficient to power about 10 households with normal energy requirements.
Their project is called “Laddermill”, and it’s aimed to create 50kW of electricity. They eventually want to build a 100 MW version of their project. If successful, the expanded project would create enough power for 100,000 homes.
The energy is produced this way: the kite is linked to a ground energy generator (an alternator) through a string. The string rotates the alternator as the kite rises and descends.
According to the project leader, Wubbo Ockels, kites are a cheap way to produce electricity, using the wind power from higher altitudes (where it can reach a speed of 7m/sec). Classic wind turbines harness the energy from lower altitutes, and the speed is slower here (5m/sec).
The researchers are pessimistic about their invention’s release on the market, because of the money they do not have to launch their project commercially. Of course, it’s not the best solution that reaches the end-user, but the richest inventor. We still live in the medieval times, when the leaders are elected by criteria of wealth.