This paper presents a control strategy that combines altitude and crosswind motion control for tethered wind energy systems with airborne turbines and generators. The proposed algorithm adjusts altitude and induces an appropriate level of crosswind motion to present the system with an apparent wind speed that most closely meets, but does not exceed, the rated wind speed of the on-board turbine(s), thereby tracking the turbine’s optimal power point. The adjustment of both altitude and motion control, along with the reduction in crosswind motion and altitude when the rated wind speed is exceeded, differentiates the proposed control architecture from other strategies proposed in the literature. Initial control laws and simulation results are presented for the Altaeros lighter-than-air wind energy system.

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