Mar 20, 2016

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Our goal is to make renewable energy a point of pride for the Pacific Northwest. That’s why I’m excited to work at eWind Solutions in Beaverton, a young company developing and testing prototypes of “smart” kites that create electricity by capturing the energy of their motion.

Remember the first time you flew a kite and could feel the enormous pull on the kite string?  That pull was created energy.  Our “kite tether” is attached to a drum on a generator that turns with the motion of the wind -- creating electricity! The kite is computer controlled to help it stay aloft and find the optimal height for power generation. Our early adopters are small to mid size farms in rural communities.  The technology doesn’t require a lot of ground space but does need air space to effectively operate.

I’m excited to be part of the next generation of wind energy. A commitment by the state to transition all our energy to renewables will spur more companies like ours to grow, hire workers and bring innovative technologies to commercialization. Our company’s goal is to help deliver affordable electricity, while protecting our planet. Our technology, once developed and matured, will be as low-cost as hydropower. Renewable energy of all kinds is becoming more cost-effective every day.

The idea was brought to life by David Schaefer, former Director of Engineering and Chief Product Architect at Xerox. He was there for 17 years, designing innovative ideas to help make Oregon a technology leader. Now he’s taking the same spirit of innovation that made Xerox a success and applying it to burgeoning renewable energy projects.

It’s exciting to think we can take our state’s history as a technological leader and use those skills building the clean energy economy. We’re currently in the prototyping phase, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the USDA, and funding from Oregon Best. With increased investments, we can move more quickly to make our technology available.

Ours is a creative idea, reflective of the innovative spirit Oregonians share. Oregonians have come up with ideas that have changed the world for the better, and we want to be part of continuing that future by helping Oregon realize its renewable energy potential.

Katie Schaefer is Director of Strategic Partnerships and HR at eWind Solutions in Beaverton.