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Directory:Makani Power, Inc. High Altitude Wind Harvesting

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Saul Griffith, President & Chief Scientist, Makani Power(Source: EnergyPolicyTV
Saul Griffith, President & Chief Scientist, Makani Power
(Source: EnergyPolicyTV

"Makani Power is seeking to harness high-altitude wind energy to produce energy at an unsubsidized real cost significantly below that of the least expensive coal-fired power plants, the current benchmark of the lowest cost source of power." (Vision statement)

The company's partnership with Google is likely to give them the capital and credibility nudge required to realize their objective. Makani doesn't give out hardly any information about the technology, apparently because they prefer to understate and over deliver, rather than the other way, which so often is the case in the renewable energy sector.

High altitude wind (twice as high as birds fly) is available everywhere on the planet, is decentralized, and eliminates the need to ship fuel around the globe.

Mah Kah Nee 
ma-ka-ni is a Hawaiian word meaning wind or breeze.



Official Website

Official Partners

How it Works

"Makani is designing membrane structures to cover large areas of the sky efficiently and cost effectively. The average wind energy at high altitudes appears to be more than 10 times greater than at a well-sited terrestrial wind turbine." [1]

Image:Makani high-altitude wind-power 425 bf8.gif

- - - -

High-altitude wind is also much more dependable than terrestrial wind.

Image:Makani high-altitude wind-dependability 450 bf16.gif

"Along with solar, wind represents the only renewable source of energy that is substantially larger than the world's current energy needs. Moreover, of all of the renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, tidal, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal), high-altitude wind has the largest energy per square foot. Capturing a small fraction of the global high-altitude wind energy flux could be sufficient to supply the current energy needs of the globe. Makani is developing high-altitude wind energy extraction technologies aimed at the most powerful wind resources." [2]


  • Saul Griffith, President & Chief Scientist, Makani Power (38 seconds) - Griffith outlines what is needed to grow renewable energy sources and how Makani's high-altitude wind power fits into that. Makani is allied with Google for the search engine's RE<C renewable power initiative. (EnergyPolicyTV)


Targeting substantially less than cost of electricity from coal plant.


  • Available anywhere on the planet.
  • No fuel supply line.

Independent Testing

info pending


info pending

NEC Evaluation

On Jan. 30, 2008, New Energy Congress member, Sterling D. Allan wrote:

It is true that they don't give out hardly any information regarding their high-altitude wind harvesting design. There is nothing to inspect for outsiders right now, but the team they have assembled is highly competent and credible. Google would not have invested $10 mil, putting not only their money but their reputation behind this technology, if it were not plausible and credible, both the technology and the team behind it.

If they can accomplish what they have set out to accomplish -- commercial power generation at much lower cost than coal power plants -- then they will be in the T2 or T5 position.

When the team credibility is so high, then the claims are more believable.

According to our criteria here is how I see this technology:

I. Renewable: 8

(not continuous)

II. Environmental Impact: 8

(visual pollution, birds, construction materials unknown)

III. Cost (cents / kw-h): 6.5

(cheaper than grid)

IV. Credibility of Evidence: 6

(proprietary but credible team)

V. Stability / Reliability: 5

(will probably require continual manned monitoring)

VI. Implementation: 5?


VII. Safety/Danger to Persons: 6

(lots of moving parts)

VIII. Politics of science: 9

(super strong team)

IX. Open-Source conducive: 2

(presently proprietary, not conducive to open source)

X. Stage of Device Development: 3-6?

(team will be capable of rapid deployment)


Company: Makani Power, Inc.

Makani Power was founded in November, 2006 by Dr. Saul Griffith and Don Montague.

Google is Makani Power's major investor, having put $10 million into the closely held company back in 2006. [3] [4]

The Makani team is comprised of world-class experts in materials science, aerodynamics, mechanical and electrical engineering, software, power electronics, motor control, control theory and automation. [5] See


In the News

  • Faces of Business 2007: Saul Griffith, wind energy entrepreneur - Asking Saul Griffith about his new high-altitude wind energy project is a textbook lesson in equivocation - albeit for very good reason. The veil of secrecy isn't mischievous. It's simply that too much "green" technology is over-hyped and underdeveloped. (San Francisco Chronicle; Dec 29, 2007)
  • Oh, and We Also Saved the World: Google's Energy Plan - "I bumped into Google's plan to change the way we generate electricity and, by doing so, alter for the better both global warming and the balance of world geopolitical power." (PBS; October 12, 2007)
    • Pulpit Poll: "Is Google's investment in Makani Power a selfless act or an attempt to control world energy markets?"
      • 58% said "Selfless act: They'll save money, too, but generally the act is selfless."
      • 42% said "Attempt to control: Like everyone else, Google wants to control the world."

Other Coverage


See Discussion page


Makani Power, Inc.
2175 Monarch Street
Alameda, California 94501
Phone: 415-819-6961; FAX: 510.749.0101


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