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Vaisala has signed a 3-year contract with Pattern Energy to supply access to historical and real-time lightning data for ten wind farms in North America. The data will be used by Pattern Energy to optimise blade inspection and repair programs and combat one of the most common causes of turbine downtime in the wind energy industry.

Pattern Energy will benefit from access to the Fault Analysis Lightning Location System (FALLS), a tool that allows utilities and project operators to overlay the locations of project infrastructure with correlating lightning activity on an interactive map. The system, which makes use of real-time data from Vaisala's North American Lightning Detection Network (NALDN), will allow Pattern Energy to pinpoint the location of recent and historic lightning strikes at its sites in order to determine exactly which turbines have been affected and the extent of the damage. Lightning damage accounts for nearly a quarter of reported insurance claims in the US wind sector, while turbine blades have the highest failure rate of any single component. Accordingly, lightning damage to blades is one of the most common threats to the operational performance of a wind farm.

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