Google’s Makani Energy Kite is reportedly nearing take off, and among those watching the fledgling technology is a former director of ARPA-E, the government incubator that nurtured the kite’s early development.

The kite has the potential to disrupt the wind segment of the energy sector, according to Ellen Williams, a University of Maryland professor who served as director of U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy from 2014 to 2017.

“In the early stages, when ARPA-E was funding this project, it wasn’t clear—and it actually to some extent still isn’t clear—whether this project actually was going to have feet. By the time you were done with ARPA-E, it was pretty clear that this project had feet, but it wasn’t clear what the innovation pathway was going to be to speed and scale,” Williams said recently in a Washington D.C. forum hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

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