Upward lightning strikes at wind turbines

02 Feb 2022 Polytech

It is time to change the way we think about lightning environments. New data reveals fundamental elements not known before.

Former research suggested that the amount of upward strikes increase with the structure height. And this is great for modern and ever-growing turbines since our range of lightning protection systems handle these upward strikes efficiently.




We have evaluated more than 1,000 lightning strikes recorded by our Lightning Key Data Systems® (LKDS®) on offshore and onshore wind turbines.


And the result is staggering: where one would have expected c. 50% of upward lightning ratio, our new data shows that for this fixed turbine height the ratio may actually vary between 10% and 80%! This has a huge impact on the lightning interaction with the turbines. So, there is a lot more than the structure height to consider: terrain topography, local weather phenomena, and seasonal variations.


And the consequences? 

  1. Our risk exposure assessment tools can now predict even more precisely the lightning environment prior to your turbine installations.
  2. We can optimize our lightning protection systems to accommodate the actual lightning exposure at your site.
  3. The results emphasize that the use of lightning location data for real-time monitoring is not sufficient.


Only a direct measurement using LKDS® will provide you the necessary level of detail to lower your operating expenses, manage your maintenance, and reduce your risk exposure.

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