Indeed it can. A kites of sort, also known as the sail, have been used to power boats for much of boating history. A company called SkySails suggests that using sails in combination with modern shipping technology, as pictured below, can save on average between 10-35% of the fuel usage; and in optimum wind conditions, there can be a reduction in fuel needs by 50%. Considering how much cargo is transported by the shipping industry, these fuel reductions could add up fast to mean both reduced foosil energy consumption and financial savings.
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