The notion of tapping into high altitude winds was first posed in the 1970’s but was not technically possible. However, recent advances in materials, computing resources and unmanned aerial vehicles have now made the idea viable.
Airborne wind energy systems have the advantage of tapping an almost constant wind at higher altitudes, without the expense of tower construction. Winds at higher altitudes are steadier, more persistent, and of higher velocity. Tapping the winds at higher altitudes therefore provides more power than ground based wind energy systems of similar dimensions. Airborne wind generators can be adjusted in height and position to maximize energy return, which is impractical with fixed tower-mounted wind generators. These factors predict a cheaper solution to wind energy production with conventional wind turbines.