Danish guide for dodging strikes

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Lightning damage to wind turbines has been serious and costly in Denmark, with several cases of destroyed blades, control systems, main bearings and generators-and even an entire wind turbine. Danish utilities have anticipated an increased threat at offshore wind turbine sites, particularly because the costs of inspection and repair work are much higher at sea.

After a two year study of the matter, the Research Institute of Danish Utilities (DEFU) has published a booklet of recommendations for lightning protection of wind turbines, a technical guide intended for power company personnel. DEFU outlines methods for risk management, along with guidelines in how to prepare a total concept of lightning protection-from blade tip to electrical system, dividing a wind turbine into zones of protection.

Blades, for instance, can be protected by using the control wire for the tip brake as an internal conductor, connecting it to air termination receptors. Protecting the main bearings from a strike can be made via a sliding contact in front of the bearings, along with insulation of the other current paths.

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