Adoption of IEC 62305 by One Major U.S. Electric Utility’s Lightning Protection Standard

DEHN USA is excited to announce that their customer, Duke Energy, has determined that DEHN USA’s IEC standard products provide the most superior lightning protection. Duke Energy recently completed thorough research of the NFPA 780 standard and the 62305 International standard for lighting protection. Duke Energy's Fossil Hydro Operations Division performed an in-depth analysis of these two standards to determine which best met the requirements necessary for lightning protection of its fleet of electric power generation facilities. In essence, they determined that the IEC 62305 standard products offer the most efficient protection. DEHN USA is the largest distributor of IEC 62305 standard-compliant products in the United States.

A lightning protection system (LPS) is necessary to provide an alternate and harmless path for lightning to travel to the earth. In the United States, NFPA 780 is the prominent lightning protection standard. Unfortunately, NFPA 780 explicitly states that electric generating facilities are excluded from the standard, even though the majority of them currently adhere to it. Therefore, these facilities have no guidance on how to implement lightning protection specific to their needs.

Over the years, as more has been learned about the physics of lightning and with the advancement of technology, there have been recurrent revisions to the standard for installation of LPS’s in the United States. The current NFPA 780 standard includes requirements for a traditional LPS and list installations for which these requirements would apply. Even with new updates to this standard, it still excludes electric power generation facilities from its list of installations. No requirements are specified for these facilities due to the assumption that most of them have existing standards that address lightning protection. One standard, IEEE 998: "IEEE Guide for Direct Lightning Stroke Shielding of Substations", addresses lightning protection for electrical substations; however, there is no standard in the United States that addresses lightning protection specifically for electric power generation facilities.

Due to the lack of any existing standard for this use case, they have been left to either accept the NFPA 780 standard or develop their own LPS standard. The extent of a LPS system is determined by the performance of a lightning risk analysis study of the structure being protected. Duke Energy’s Fossil Hydro Operations Division researched and reviewed existing lightning protection standards when developing its criteria for its latest generation facilities. Statistically, a system designed in compliance with a lightning protection standard should reduce the risk to below a predetermined threshold. The main focus of analyzing the NFPA 780 and the IEC 62305 was to determine which standard would best serve Duke Energy’s lightning protection requirements. Both standards provide guidelines on the design requirements of their respective LPS’s, however they differ in their policies for the implantation of their systems.

The NFPA 780 standard is a constructive approach to lightning protection design that relies on the geometry of the structure being protected. Whereas, the IEC 62305 standard relies on the technological advances in the industry and the modern understanding of the electrical characteristics of lightning. Both standards are recognized by UL as an inspection standard. This qualifies them for the UL Master Label Certification Program as long as the LPS is installed by a UL certified installer and passes a UL inspection by a UL lightning protection inspector. Upon completion of the detailed analytical comparison of the NFPA 780 and IEC 62305 lightning protection standards, Duke Energy concluded that the IEC 62305 standard that DEHN USA products provide, delivers a superior lightning protection system for their electric power generation facilities.

DEHN USA reliably develops overall concepts for isolated and conventional systems of complex installations in line with the IEC standards. Their services include the effective development of concepts for external lightning protection systems for many different industry sectors. Duke Energy has implemented DEHN USA’s IEC 62305 compliant-products as the basis for its lightning protection standard. They have taken the initiative within the U.S. electric power industry delivering a lightning protection system which will provide the needed protection from the destructive effects of lightning. This initiative will enhance its ability to continue delivering safe, reliable, economic electric power to its customers. DEHN USA takes great pride in the products that they produce for their customers, such as Duke Energy, as safety and protection are paramount components of their business.

Learn more in the white paper here: Adoption of IEC 62305 as the Basis for One Major U.S. Electric Utility’s Lightning Protection Standard. Gary T Brandon P.E., Lead Engineer, Duke Energy [0.3 MB].