Researchers from the Lightning, Atmospheric Electricity and High Voltage Research Group on the Terrassa Campus of the UPC have found a direct relationship between the movement of wind turbines on wind farms and the electrical discharges triggered by lightning in certain atmospheric conditions. Under favorable atmospheric conditions any elevated structure can generate upward lightning flashes. The wind turbine blades move at speeds of several tens of metres per second. However, no one had previously demonstrated the relationship between this movement and the triggering of electrical discharges. Through its lightning mapping array located in the Terres de l’Ebre region of Tarragona, the research group has detected electrical discharges from wind turbines that are repeated periodically.
The duration of these discharges ranges from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on the storm conditions.