Tuesday, May 28, 2024

CBF Wind Turbine Hit by Lightning

10 WAVY,  Wind turbine struck by lightning at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center

On Monday, a wind turbine at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center was struck by lightning.

The turbine caught on fire, but was extinguished due to the rain from the storm. Luckily, the building itself didn’t sustain any damage.

CBF Brock Center General Manager Chris Gorri issued the following statement:

 “At CBF’s Brock Environmental Center, we interact with nature every day. Unfortunately, today lightning struck the west turbine at CBF’s Brock Environmental Center. We are grateful to the Virginia Beach Fire Department for responding so quickly to this incident. We are thankful nobody at the Brock Center was harmed during this storm, which reverberated throughout northern Virginia Beach. CBF’s Brock Environmental Center and Pleasure House Point Natural Area did not experience any damage beyond the wind turbine. Our priority is always the safety of our staff, students, and visitors. CBF staff and its contractors are assessing the turbines and the property is still open for the public to access.”

Who would have thought a giant windmill stuck way up in the air with a generator inside, and lines to carry away the power would be susceptible to a lightning strike? Apparently it's quite common:

  • According to a German study, lightning strikes accounted for 80% of wind turbine insurance claims.
  • During its first full year of operation, 85% of the down time experienced by one southwestern commercial wind farm was lightning-related. Total lightning-related damage exceeded $250,000.
  • The German electric power company Energieerzeugungswerke Helgoland GmbH shut down and dismantled their Helgoland Island wind power plant after being denied insurance against further lightning losses. They had been in operation three years and suffered more than $540,000 (USD) in lightning-related damage.

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