Lightning hampering new LED street lights

Sensitive bulbs could cost municipalities a fortune

Over the next five years, around 200,000 street lights will be replaced by the far more effective LED bulbs in Denmark, which are expected to save municipalities 70 percent on their energy bills. But already, a pitfall has emerged.

The LED may be affordable and climate-friendly, but they are also far more sensitive to lightning strikes. Lightning strikes in the town of Tim by Ringkøbing in Jutland popped over 100 new LED bulbs around Christmas, costing the local municipality 300,000 kroner to fix.

”We probably need to admit that this technology is more sensitive to lightning compared to the old bulbs,” Henrik Jensen, an operating manager at municipal utility supplier Ringkøbing-Skjern Forsyning, told DR Nyheder.

READ MORE: Danes upgrading outdoor lights with intelligent lighting

Millions at stake
According to meteorologists, the changing climate means that Denmark can expect more lightning strikes in the future.

Fortunately, there is a solution available, but the cost of protecting the new LED bulbs against lightning could well run into the millions.

The EU wants its member states to phase out all mercury-based bulbs by the end of 2015.




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