There is a wind turbine blade at the PrairieWinds 1 wind project near Minot, ND, that has been struck by lightning three times.
You read right – not just a turbine that has been struck thrice, but the same blade on that turbine.
“You hear this myth about lightning not striking the same place twice, but we can say that’s not true,” says Kevin Tschosik, Basin Electric manager of distributed generation. “There’s a good chance the turbine was even spinning when the blade was struck each time.”
The neighbor to the landowner who has this turbine on their land called in the latest incident.
Tschosik says a lightning strike is usually evident by a black mark or streak on the blade, and sometimes the blade is split or damaged in another way. “We usually have to take the turbine out of service and repair the blade, rarely replace the blade,” Tschosik says.
Tschosik estimates wind turbine towers are struck by lightning several times every year. “There is no way to determine when the tower was struck. … The puck at the tip of the blade is meant to give the lightning a path to ground and to not cause damage to the blade or the tower,” he says. “We have had storms pass over the park that generate hundreds of lightning strikes, per Weather Sentry (weather monitoring tool).”