We have observed lightning that struck a wind turbine and its neighboring lightning-protection tower during the past six winter seasons (2005 to 2010) using various lightning observation instruments. Our results show that the upward lightning from high structures can be classified into self-initiated and other-triggered types according to whether there is a discharge activity prior to the upward lightning. Furthermore, we found that although other-triggered upward lightning can start at a relatively low wind speed, self-initiated upward lightning always started either from the stationary tower under a larger wind speeds or from a rotating wind turbine blade. It appears that the wind does have considerable effect in assisting the initiation of an upward leader. In addition, we found that the self-initiated upward positive leaders from structures with different effective heights exhibited remarkably different initial speeds. Higher structures tend to initiate faster upward leaders. Finally, we discussed the pulse discharges observed in the very initial stages of positive upward leaders and how to protect structures from upward lightning as well.
2012 by the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan