The law of unintended consequences strikes again. Literally.
Amid an enthusiastic move to LED lighting, the town of Tim in western Denmark has discovered something that hadn’t occurred to many people before: the technology makes outdoor streetlighting far more vulnerable to lightning strikes.
Lightning took out over 100 new bulbs over Christmas, The Copenhagen Post has reported. The article implies that LEDs do not hold up as well as earlier technologies did in electrical storms.
‘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 company Ringkøbing-Skjern Forsyning told Danish national broadcaster DR Nyheder, as reported by the Post.
Municipalities across Denmark expect to replace around 200,000 old streetlights with LEDs over the next five years, saving 70 percent in energy costs.
Denmark is also home to one of the world’s most progressive LED lighting testbeds – government, industry and academia are together deploying LED-based smart city initiatives in Alberstlund, a suburb of Copenhagen. The so-called DOLL iniative (Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab) should yield some important insights on how to tie LEDs into metropolitan information networks.
But meanwhile, some shocking real life lessons are blowing in from the west.
Photo is from Anna Omelchenko via Shutterstock