Oct 26, 2021

Lightning strike risks for wind turbines


Wind turbines stand hundreds of feet above the ground, so it may not come as a complete surprise that they are magnets for lightning!


A recent article from RSA, one of the leading insurers in the renewable energy sector, highlights the risk turbines face from lightning and the devastating consequences a strike can have. As Murray Banks, Risk Engineering Consultant at RSA, says, “if a turbine catches fire, there is very little the fire services can do to put it out”.


According to DNV, an independent technical standard and certification body, lightning damage is one of the main causes in wind turbines of unplanned downtime, resulting in a loss of generation. A standard insurance policy should provide cover for this loss of revenue, however, clearly the best scenario would be not having to claim at all with prevention being the best method.


All turbines will have their own built in protection system against lightning, however, Murray raises the important point that this protection can wear out over time, something that all turbine owners should be aware of and ensuring that their O&M is checking.


With turbines becoming taller and blades increasingly being made of carbon, it’s a problem that’s set to worsen.


If you have any questions or would like to discuss your insurance needs, please email Nick.Smith@blackfordinsurance.com.


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