FPL's lightning lab helps keep the lights on

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - The rainy season has begun in south Florida. that means lots of thunderstorms.

With more than 300,000 strikes per year, every lightning strike has to potential of knocking the power out, and leaving you in the dark.

One of FPL's greatest threats is lightning. Testing it, is key. That's why they've come up with a way to make it themselves.

Mike Spoor, VP of Transmissions Substation Group at FPL, introduces his facility.

"This is our lighting lab," he says.

Looking more like a sci-fi movie set, the facility helps FPL test new equipment.

"We would bring it in here to test it to make sure that it's going to be really as resilient as possible to prevent power outages from happening to our customers," said Spoor.

Even though Florida is the lightning capital of the country, it would be tough waiting on mother nature to test power equipment.

So, FPL makes their own 1.2 million volt charge.

Spoor explains, "In this facility we actually have if you think about it is just a giant generator that's generating high levels of energy, electricity. And we're getting it to a concentrated lightning bolt to where we can direct it on to the piece of equipment. It's a simulated environment, but it's really about the closest you can get to a real lighting bolt that you would experience on any afternoon in the summer time."

Unlike real lightning, the simulated lightning has helped keep the power on over the 16 years the lightning lab has been in service, by making equipment more able to withstand strikes before failing.

Keeping you and your family out of the dark.

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