Lightning Protection For Wind Turbines

Lightning Protection For Wind Turbines

Green energy technology is a phrase used to describe several different industries that generate consumable electricity using a variety of methods. The unifying element across these different production methods is the use of a clean and renewable fuel source in order to turn the turbines necessary to create power. Within the fossil fuel industry, this same process is completed by burning a fuel source such as coal, oil or wood in order to turn the turbines that produce the electricity, but in the green energy space there is no need to burn fuel. This creates the same effect without pollution or damage to the environment in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, and also without the necessity to mine or harvest the fuel source. With green energy technology the fuel source, including wind, solar or water, is harnessed and converted into electricity. These fuel sources are also available without cost, positioning green energy technology as being the obvious logical choice for anyone desiring a cleaner environment. While global warming and the actual amounts of damage caused to the environment by fossil fuel production is understood in the scientific community, some still debate the causes of the excessive greenhouse gases causing climate change. However, there is no denying that green energy technology does produce a cleaner process, and in doing so poses a definite threat to the fossil fuel industry profits because of its potential for also producing a less expensive product.

The bulk of the cost of fossil fuel energy production comes in the form of the costs of mining or purchasing the fuel sources, combined with the actual production costs.  Since there is no cost for the green energy fuel, the only costs associated with the process are the production costs. Logically it stands to reason that one form of technology needing a fuel source that costs money vs one that does not is going to ultimately evolve to the one without cost becoming cheaper overall to produce the product. At the current time, the added costs associated with green technology that is actually hindering the technology  from becoming less expensive than fossil fuels is the cost of start-up, repair and replacement of equipment used in the process. The most obvious case of this is in the wind power industry, where large wind turbines are positioned in remote areas in order to harness the free and unobstructed flow of wind. They are generally the tallest structures in the area in order to facilitate this unobstructed flow, which makes the turbines, towers and blades become targets for destructive weather events, including lightning strikes.

Lightning strikes to the wind turbines and blades are a major source of cost within the green energy process, and can add up quickly since any affected parts will need to be replaced. As well, the energy generation system will generally be knocked offline and unable to produce until such time that repairs can be made. However, the inability to completely stop lightning strikes to wind turbine blades is not the major cost issue. The real source of cost is the damage to sensitive and mission-critical computerized equipment within or connected to the area of the lightning strike. The lightning strike produces a large power surge which travels along connectivity lines to the equipment used in the process, damaging the circuitry and resulting in major costs for repair and replacement. But this is where the future potential of the industry is obvious, if these costs can be reduced then the overall production costs can be lowered below those of fossil fuels, which are very expensive to locate and mine. The future will see this happen through the integration of advanced surge protection (SPDs) for wind turbines manufactured by companies like Raycap, and these advanced industrial SPDs will protect the expensive equipment from damage during the inevitable lightning strike and following surge. By simply protecting the downstream equipment, overall costs that must be passed off to the consumer will be reduced; creating an energy source with is both cleaner and cheaper. The future of clean energy is happening right now, and Raycap is providing products that facilitate this change.