We are delighted and honoured to welcome you to the Airborne Wind Energy Conference 2011, in the historic city centre of Leuven. The AWEC 2011 is the 2nd in a series of annual conferences organized by the Airborne Wind Energy Consortium, after its start in 2010 in Stanford, California. This is the first time that the AWEC takes place in Europe. The conference is a joint effort of the company Ampyx Power, the Airborne Wind Energy Consortium and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U. Leuven), and it is hosted in the Irish College in Leuven.
The Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) community is still young, but even before the 2010 Stanford
conference had some history of international workshops. In recent years, for example, the
“International Workshop on Modelling and Optimization of Power Generating Kites 2007” in Leuven, the “High altitude wind power conference 2009” in Chico or the “Kite Dynamics Symposium 2009” in Delft brought together increasing numbers of researchers. At all these and other meetings, many contacts, ideas and informal bonds emerged so that we can nowadays start to speak of a true
research community on airborne wind energy.
The AWE industry is in a crucial year: after Fukushima, the world is more intensively than ever looking
for alternatives to both fossil fuels and nuclear power, to avoid the different problems associated with them, and finally, solar and wind power are widely recognized as realistic alternatives. The foreseeable boom in conventional wind power, which in contrast to airborne wind energy is a tested technology with well-known investment risks, will create a novel environment for AWE developers. On the one hand, economies of scale will make the competition with conventional wind power
installations tougher and tougher every month; on the other hand, a growing overall market for wind power will also lead to more investment in research and development of niche products.
AWE products might grow in one of these niches, with the potential to significantly extend the economical scope of wind power in particular off-shore and in remote locations. It is a good time to bring together at AWEC 2011, close the European capital, a critical mass of scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, and political actors, that are interested in shaping the future of airborne wind energy.
We hope that, in a joint effort of the program and organizing committees, we succeeded to put together all ingredients that are necessary for an exciting, interesting and inspiring conference.
In the name of the organizing and programme committees,
Moritz Diehl (K.U. Leuven),
Reinhart Paelinck (K.U. Leuven), and
Richard Ruiterkamp (AmpyxPower)