Winds of Change: Clean Energy From Above

Charles Williams

A power-generating kite sounded preposterous—until Google stepped in.

Even if we covered the Earth’s surface in turbines, we’d still miss out on the abundance of wind coursing high above our heads. In 2006, a start-up called Makani set out to channel the strong and steady currents at higher altitudes by developing a kite—which looks more like a propeller drone than what you’d fly at a Sunday picnic—that could generate cleaner and more reliable power. Fast-forward to 2013, when the California-based company was acquired by Google—which could give Makani the financial and institutional boost it needs to make a pie-in-the-sky dream a viable green-energy alternative.​.