Cloud to Ground Lightning can happen anywhere at any time. It is important to note that lighting does not need to directly strike a power line for such damage to occur; a strike several hundred meters away can induce large damaging transients, even to underground cable. Recently, Google says data has been wiped from discs at one of its data centres in Belgium – after the local power grid was struck by lightning four times.
Cost from inadequate lighting protection system can range for degradation of electrical or electronic systems to data loss, equipment destruction or injury. Some of these costs can appear relatively minor but the loss of an essential service or revenues associated with a facility or plant shut down can be enormous.
So, what can be done to minimize the damage cause by lightning strike? Below is the six point plan of lightning protection:
Step 1: Capture the lightning strike
Capture the lighting strike to a known and preferred attachment point using a purpose-designed air terminal system
Step 2: Convey this energy to ground
Conduct the energy to the ground via a purpose-designed down conductor
Step 3: Dissipate the energy into the grounding system
Dissipate the energy into a low impedance grounding system
Step 4: Bond all ground points together
Bond all ground points to eliminate ground loops and create an equipotential plane
Step 5: Protect incoming AC power feeders
Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming power lines to prevent equipment damage and costly operational downtime
Step 6: Protect low voltage data/telecommunication circuits
Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming telecommunications and signal lines to prevent equipment damage and costly operational downtime
As a guide, the cost of protection should be approximately 10% of the cost of facility’s economic risk. Modern industry which highly reliant on electronic equipment and automation as well as data centres requires more lightning protection than most other buildings.
See how WAPP can assist you in designing and implementing coordinated lightning protection.