From the Signon SanDiego, Lightning damages East County wind turbines:
“BOULEVARD — Lightning struck most of the wind turbines along Interstate 8 on the Campo Indian Reservation Monday night or Tuesday morning, causing severe damage to at least two of them, an official said. Nobody was hurt.”
“Winds in the area was measured above 70 mph, so the turbines, which automatically shut down at 55 mph, were not operating, said Neal Emmerton, regional asset manager for Bluarc Management Group, which operates the wind farm.
Two of the 25 turbines near Boulevard were working Tuesday morning. It’s unclear how much damage the lightning strikes caused the other turbines.
When lightning strikes an unprotected area of a blade, it heats the air within to 54,000 degrees, causing explosions, cracks, melting and damage that can destroy or severely damage them.
The turbines are still under warranty, he said, and the manufacturer is preparing to ship replacement blades this week, he said.
Workers will inspect the turbine blades with binoculars to see if they have further damage and the manufacturer plans to bring two cranes to hoist technicians up to the blades for a closer look and repairs, if possible, Emmerton said.
The wind turbines are taller than 20-story buildings with blades longer than the wing of a 747.
Without knowing the extent of the damage, it’s unclear how long the repairs will take.
“It’s going to take a while,” Emmerton said.
Wind turbines are designed to take lightning hits, but no system is fail safe, he said.
Industry standards require wind turbines to withstand 98 percent of lightning strikes, according LM Glasfiber, a company that makes blades and lightning protection systems.”
Well, at least …