IEA Wind Task 48

Airborne Wind Energy

About Task 48

Task 48 provides a platform for the open exchange of ideas, experience, and techniques of Airborne Wind Energy systems

Started in 2021 Task 48 aims to build a strong community that works together to identify and mitigate the barriers to the development and deployment of Airborne Wind Energy systems.

We provide a structured forum for international collaborations between researchers, supply chains, and users to exchange needs, ideas, and experiences.

The Task focuses on producing tangible results such as recommended practices that can be used by researchers and practitioners. And, we work in collaboration with other IEA Wind Tasks and related groups like the Interreg Project MegaAWE and the doctoral training network NEON to help make sure that R&D is aligned with users’ needs.


The scope of the new Task 48 is wind energy harvesting with automatic tethered flying devices, known as Airborne Wind Energy (AWE)

AWE has the potential to contribute significantly to reaching the climate targets of the Paris Agreement by harvesting energy at competitive costs at altitudes above the largest wind turbines. So far, individual AWE units of a few hundred kW have been tested. The AWE Task will expand the scope to utility-scale AWE farms, paving the way to make AWE a significant part of the future energy system.

This Task will realize a major step forward on the development pathway of AWE toward large-scale deployment. The Task will channel the results of several national and international projects and leverage private-public collaboration in a broad approach.

Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) has the potential to give access to stronger and more stable high-altitude wind resources, including in remote areas and floating offshore, and thus play an important part in the future energy mix. It also reduces material consumption which leads – in combination with a higher capacity factor – to potentially very low LCOEs and lower carbon and environmental impacts.

Furthermore, it may be modified to provide propulsion and power for the maritime shipping sector. There is the need for unbiased, independent, high-quality information for policymakers which the proposed Task on AWE is expected to deliver.

How does it work?

There are two phases:

– Power phase: The kite flies cross-wind in figures of eight, reeling-out the tether which turns drum to which the generator – located in the ground station – is connected. Power is generated.
– Retraction phase: The tether is reeled-in again and the kite dives down back to the starting position. This requires about 20% of the energy produced in the power phase.

Ground-Gen pumping


Ground-Gen rotary

Objectives and Expected Results

The objective of the Task on AWE is to tackle various the specific challenges on a global level by addressing and including stakeholders who are not primarily AWE developers,

i.e., policymakers, authorities, regulators, and other wind energy and technology experts.

This is crucial because so far, the AWE community has been consisting mainly of developers and research institutions which convene every two years at the International Airborne Wind Energy Conferences (AWEC), of which the most recent one was held June 2022 in Milan

The sector association Airborne Wind Europe has started about two years ago with collaborative activities among its members (working groups on safety, sector roadmap, and recently on environmental and social impacts) but – even though being also open to non-European members – its main focus has been on Europe. Recently the sector has also been present at the Wind Energy Hamburg fair and conference, and within the European Academy of Wind Energy (EAWE) network, a technical Committee on AWE has been set up in 2019 which convenes about twice a year.

A key benefit of the IEA Task on AWE will be that it opens the scope of collaboration to the whole world;

it will thus foster a truly international exchange of expertise, produce and gather new data and information, allow for joint learning, as well as accelerate the development of AWE technology and thus its impact on the international energy sector.

IEA Wind is considered the most suitable IEA TCP to include AWE, thus extending the scope beyond on- and offshore wind turbine systems to an additional, complementary wind harnessing technology.

AWE stakeholders will be able to benefit from the experience and established networks within IEA Wind while also providing new insights and technological expertise to them.

The expected results are:

  • Enhanced international collaboration and coordination in the field of AWE. Following the integration work in IEA, IRENA, and other international networks, to leverage the work being done in the Task on AWE.
  • National case studies on the 5 focus areas (work packages, WPs). Collaborative journal articles summarise and further analyze the work in national case studies.
  • Updated library of Task publications and list of relevant studies and other publications
  • Open-source dynamic models, with corresponding documentation and training opportunities, for common use in AWE research and development.

Approach and Methodologies

The Task on AWE will provide an international forum for interchanging knowledge and experiences and for collaboration related to AWE.

The basis of the work is the national and regional projects on AWE by the participants.

The participants will collect and share information on the experience gained in studies and projects made prior to and during the task. International collaborations with contacts and opportunities for visiting scientists will be encouraged.

The overarching questions that the Task aims to answer are:

  • Where to deploy AWE?
  • How to deploy AWE efficiently and how to measure it?
  • How to deploy AWE safely?
  • What are AWE benefits for society and the environment?

Operating Agents

Please contact the Operating Agents below with any questions

Kristian Petrick, Secretary General of Airborne Wind Europe

The Operating Agents are the executive body for Task 48. The tasks and responsibilities of the Operating Agents are:

  • Act as the single point of contact of the task with the IEA.
  • Decisions for workshops topics and nomination of workshop leaders.
  • Organization of the general meetings and Advisory Board meetings, chairing the meetings, preparing the minutes of the Advisory Board meetings.
  • Organization of the workshops in collaboration with the workshop leaders.
  • Collecting, reviewing and submitting information on the progress of the task, reports and financial statements to the IEA.
  • Compilation of the annual progress and of the contribution to the Annual IEA Wind Report.
  • Dissemination, e.g. through the newsletter and homepage.

Task 48 is managed by Airborne Wind Europe – the association of the European airborne wind energy industry.


Task 48 Participants

Who can participate in Task 48?

To participate in the research activities of Task 48, researchers must reside in a country that participates in the IEA Wind Agreement AND has agreed by official letter to participate in Task 48. The participating member country of the IEA Wind TCP must designate a lead institution that agrees to the obligations of Task participation (pay the annual fee and agree to perform specified parts of the work plan).

Active researchers (performing part of the work plan) benefit from meetings and professional exchange during the term of the Task. In the particular case of IEA Task 48 the measurement results will, where possible, be shared into the consortium so that  partners get first hand information from unique new data. Countries participating in the Task benefit from the information developed by the Task. The value of the research performed is many times the cost of the country participation fee or the labor contributed to carrying out the work plan.

For more information, contact the Operating Agents, Kristian Petrick or the IEA Wind Secretariat.


Find us here

For more information about Airborne Wind Europe please visit  or contact us at the address below.

Any Question at

Tel: +32 27 39 62 12

Airborne Wind Europe

Avenue de la Renaissance 1, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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