Upward lightning attachment analysis on wind turbines and correlated current parameters

Stephan Vogel, M. Ishii, M. Saito, D. Natsuno

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This work provides insight in the attachment characteristics of upward initiated lightning discharges to wind turbines and their possible consequences for the lightning protection of wind turbine blades. All discharges were recorded at the Japanese coast of the Sea of Japan which is known for intense upward lightning activity. 172 video recordings of lightning discharges on rotating wind turbines are analysed and attachment angle, detachment angle, and the resulting angular displacement were determined. A classification between self-initiated and other-triggered upward lightning events is performed by means of video analysis. The results reveal that the majority of discharges are initiated on vertical blades; however, also attachments to horizontal blades are reported. Horizontal attachment (or a slightly inclined blade state) is often related with a triggered lightning event prior to the discharge. There are about twice as many lightning attachments during the ascending blade movement compared to the descending blade movement. Furthermore, a comparison between current parameters from stationary and rotating wind turbines reveal no substantial difference between the two operational modes. The dataset of video recordings and current measurements originates from the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization Furthermore (NEDO) measurement campaign (2008 – 2013) which documented lightning incidences on wind turbines mainly during the winter season at the Sea of Japan.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)327-332
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event4th International Symposium on Winter Lightning - Musee Yukikomachi, Joetsu City, Japan
Duration: 12 Apr 201714 Apr 2017


Conference4th International Symposium on Winter Lightning
LocationMusee Yukikomachi
CityJoetsu City


  • Wind Turbine
  • Upward Lightning
  • Attachment
  • Self-initiated
  • Other-triggered
  • Winter Lightning


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