Lightning Protection For Wind Turbines Is The Opportunity Of The Future

As the climate continually shifts throughout different areas of the globe that are growing increasingly reliant upon stable energy production systems, we find that the opportunities surrounding wind power are the most interesting.  The desire of most nations to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels brings developing green energy technologies to the forefront of most strategic discussions.  While the simple increase in the volume of wind turbines that exist potentially could increase the power production capacities in any country due to the fact that the wind itself is a free fuel source, there are still challenges that hinder this effort.  Repair and maintenance are the main challenge that faces areas that desire to increase their power production volumes using wind technologies..  Due to the high repair and maintenance costs that are associated with these types of systems, large rollouts are sometimes rejected.  Simply put, the argument between the low costs associated with fossil fuels and the higher costs associated with green energy technologies will many times be decided based upon the cheaper production method.  The superiority of wind technology with regards to pollution and climate change is not able to be argued.  A system that produces no pollution vs. a system that burns fossil fuels cannot be viewed as anything except superior.  The only argument against the widespread rollout of these clean technologies is the price associated with their production.  This is why driving down the costs within the wind power production arena may be one of the most important challenges facing the adoption of this technology.  If costs can be reduced to lower than fossil fuels, a cleaner world can be achieved simply by using the more cost effective methods.  This presents an argument that is almost unable to be defeated.

Lightning protection for wind turbines is a major issue that is providing complications and hindering the achievement of this goal. Wind turbines are unique structures that are made mostly of metal and are generally taller than all surrounding structures.  This makes them the most attractive strike point for lightning during inclement weather.  The blades and nacelle are the most exposed components of wind turbines, and are the ones typically damaged the most by direct strikes.  These direct strikes create a situation where a surge of electricity can travel through the entire turbine and affect all components both inside and also connected electrically throughout the entire system.  Earthing opportunities are poor within most areas where wind farms are located.  This presents the challenge associated with repair and maintenance of the components in order to keep the systems online and producing.  The best opportunity is to develop methods of keeping the systems from being damaged in the first place.  These opportunities are being addressed through the integration of technologically advanced surge protection devices which are not rendered inoperable after a single surge incident.  These new technologies reduce the costs of ongoing maintenance, while also keeping systems online for longer periods.  Through development of these technologically advanced surge protection systems, we’re seeing the potential for wind power to become less expensive than fossil fuels.  Once this goal is achieved, the future is bright.

 

 

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