The most common use-cases for lightning data in the wind energy sector:
Historical lightning data for damage investigation Constantly nowcast is the supplier for highly accurate historical lightning data to assist in the investigation of blade damages or general wind turbine damage attributed to lightning. The best-in-class location accuracy and detection efficiency of nowcast is key to the high value of the delivered data sets
Real-time lightning data to avoid spreading damage Lightning typically hits the blade tips of wind turbines. This can cause so called “spider cracks”, that can – if left unattended – turn into bigger damage and ultimately into a completely damaged blade. This spreading damage can potentially even harm the complete turbine. With nowcast’s highly precise lightning data, relevant wind turbines can easily be identified and a maintenance crew can be timely dispatched to check on the blades. If spider cracks are taken care of in time, the lightning induced damage can be repaired at comparatively low cost. Thus, an easy, precise and reasonable service to safe massively on damage repair. A sophisticated, precise and reliable lightning warning service is also more and more a requirement of wind energy investors.
Real-time lightning data/services for operations management Maximizing safety and efficiency e.g. during maintenance work on wind turbines is a major factor for professional operations. LINET view allows an easy upload of the wind energy assets and to create alarm areas by using kml or shape files without the need for meteorological expertise. The highly reliable 60 minutes short-term forecasting of thunderstorm-cells, updating in real-time will give maximum planning ability to the responsible staff. With LINET data, the high-quality real-time lightning data can also be integrated in any third-party monitoring software. Some wind farm operators also switch off wind turbines during heavy overhead thunderstorm activity to prevent lightning from being attracted by the turning rotor. This approach also supported by nowcast’s 60 minutes forecast with ETA (estimated time of arrival) and ETD (estimated time of departure) as well as the real-time thunderstorm-severity-assessment.
Wind farm operators therefore profit from nowcast’s extremely accurate and reliable lightning data and can enhance their operations in many ways. Nowcast makes it really easy to keep a close eye on the wind turbines to e.g. avoid greater lightning damage on blades and make inspection efficient.