Can Lightning Protection Reduce Climate Change?

Can Lightning Protection Reduce Climate Change?

Climate change may be the biggest debate of the century. The disagreement is not about the impacts that climate change will have on humanity and the planet, but instead are about if it is caused by man, or not. Both sides of the debate are in agreement that rising sea levels and warming atmospheric temperatures exist, along with intensifying storm activity and the disappearing polar ice caps. There is no debate about the fact that these issues are occurring, but instead it is about if human activity is actually to blame. One side states that climate change is something that would happen if pollution and greenhouse gasses were created by our global industries, and the other states that it would happen even if all these industries were not to exist. Because it is impossible to know for a fact what would be the case if there were no pollution, we simply must assume that an environment that is polluted is worse than one that is not, and even if this pollution is not caused by humans, it is still not positive.

The debate over fossil fuels and their contribution to climate change sits squarely in this debate. Burning fossil fuels is the historical method of creating electricity, and even though it creates pollution we use it due to the fact that there has been no other method to choose from. The rise of alternative fuels and methods such as harnessing the sun and wind as fuel sources do now provide us with options, but these options are more expensive to produce the same product. The general public puts their support behind the method that will result in the lowest monetary cost to them (if not the highest cost to their health), and so as long as fossil fuel production is being accomplished at a lower cost than renewable energy, the public will support it. This is changing quickly due to the advancements technology which can help drive down the costs associated with production of renewable energy.

Surge protection devices installed within alternative power production systems are one of the technologies driving the costs of energy production down. This is because one of the weakness’ of green energy systems is their utilization of high tech equipment to produce power, and the exposure of that equipment to lightning strikes can cause major disruptions and added costs. The equipment within or connected to any point that is struck by lightning suffers the damage that comes from a massive power surge, and the physical makeup and exposed locations of many of these facilities and systems makes them targets for lightning strikes. A lighting strike will directly hit a solar panel or wind tower and create massive damage at that strike point. However the more damaging scenario to the entire system is the power surge that flows through the structure and along cables that connect the equipment, ultimately resulting in much damage to equipment downstream. By minimizing that damage, the costs of production can be reduced to the point that they are lower than fossil fuels, and the prices that are necessary to be charged to consumers could be reduced. Ultimately we have a situation where the public will be allowed to choose between a system that is both more expensive and produces pollution, and systems that are cheaper and cleaner. Better surge protection technology is helping to make this scenario possible, and the resulting reduction in pollution will ultimately be a positive step, even if climate change isn’t manmade.

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