Raycap News

Windmill Surge Protection

The wind power industry is still evolving, but ultimately the technology that goes into the manufacturing of electricity by capturing the force of  wind is not where the major evolutions are occurring. Using the wind to turn blades on windmills has been around for centuries, generally being used to perform some function that requires movement. This movement can be channeled into the performance of an action, and that action can be supplied to a wide variety of tasks. While windmills once were used to do things like grind grain or churn butter, they evolved into equipment which is  capable of manufacturing electricity. Electricity was originally created for public use through turbines connected to generators, ultimately resulting in the brushes inside of a generator moving and producing the product. The wind and windmills were able to perform the function of turning the generator brushes and the created electricity could be stored and supplied to those that need it.

In the past, wind was not a viable alternative to fossil fuels as a legitimate source to power all of the necessary devices within most areas. Basically, fossil fuels and flowing water could create a more constant source that would turn the turbines better than wind, because the wind is of course not always blowing. In addition to wind farms not being able to produce enough to meet the demands, it was actually more expensive to produce electricity this way when compared to the costs of fossil fuel or hydro based production. The windmills had a weak spot that was difficult to overcome when it came to taking them seriously as viable alternatives to replace for fossil fuels to generate electricity. Part of that shortcoming was and is the huge expense of these modern wind turbines, while another perhaps less apparent drawback are the elements (weather) and specifically, lightning strikes to the equipment which can affect production. Lightning is attracted to the height and make up of wind towers. They need to be taller than almost everything else in a remote area so that they can harness the wind unobstructed, which also puts them directly at risk to lightning which is (typically) attracted to the tallest structures in an area. Lightning strikes to the blades or the turbines themselves will cause the need for increased repair costs, but the damage that results inside the windmills also takes them offline. When they are offline they are unable to produce electricity for a portion of the time that the wind is available. The protection of wind turbines needed to be improved  before they could really be relied upon to produce more electricity than they are currently being asked to do. They were simply expensive to run and inefficient as a method.

We are currently seeing the costs associated with wind power come down and the efficiency at production going up. This is in part due to improvements to the systems, including to the surge protection systems that are put in place to protect the internal components when lightning strikes happen. The equipment that can be protected is being protected more effectively, and this allows for the wind turbines to stay online for longer periods. This decreases production costs and increases the energy capacities that are being produced at the same time, and this is one of the reasons that wind power is now being regarded as a potential alternative for fossil fuel systems in a viable way.