Repairs have been made to a wind turbine on the edge of North Devon after it was struck by lightning.
The turbine at East Youlstone, near Bradworthy, was knocked out of action for several days following the lightning strike last week.
The strike, which hit one of the turbine’s blades, caused significant damage and required operators Airvolution to completely remove the blade to carry out repairs.
Although the 2MW turbine is now back in operation, Philip Bratby, renewable energy spokesman for CPRE Devon, said it was not the first time the turbine had been struck by lightning since it was erected in November last year.
He said: “The turbines caused a huge nuisance last November when they were being transported in, blocking the local lane for four days and resulting in road closures.
“Apparently one of the turbines has been struck by lightning more than once, on one occasion loud enough as to wake people and cause considerable damage.
“They are much taller than any other structure, so they would be expected to be struck by lightning. But in this case it completely destroyed a blade, which is a very expensive repair job.”
Sophie Moeng, spokesman for Airvolution, confirmed that the damage had been caused by a lightning strike, but said the company had managed to repair and reinstall the existing blade rather than replace it.
She added: “There are lightning conductors on the turbines anyway to try and control where the lightning does strike, which is normal for a tall structure.”
The incident comes after residents living near Fullabrook claimed there had been an increase in the number of lightning strikes in area following the completion of the wind farm in 2012.
According to residents, the strikes have effected internet access and phone signals.
Philip said while there was no evidence to suggest the turbines had directly caused an increase in lightning strikes, he believed this could be the case.
“Lightning can happen at any time,” he said. “However. they are extracting energy from wind and can affect the humidity, so they could be effecting the weather and they could be responsible for making storms worse.”
The Journal contacted Fullabrook Wind Farm’s operators ESB International regarding the concerns but no one was available to comment.
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