Can lightning be harnessed as a source of power?
A. People have considered harnessing lightning for electrical power, but no serious attempts are currently under way, nor are any planned. It is impractical for numerous reasons, as listed below. 1. Most of the power in lightning is dissipated as thunder and light, which cannot be easily harnessed to generate electric power. 2. However, even just the electrical current of lightning is considerable — 20,000 amps on average, the same as 100 steel welders. But the power is on for only a brief fraction of a second, so the total power is actually small, only enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for six months. 3. The huge surge of electrical current over very brief times makes storing the energy impractical. 4. Lightning strikes to specific locations are infrequent and inconsistent. This makes scheduling power availability impractical. 5. Lightning can be very damaging. The collection systems have to be incredibly robust, which would drive up costs. Lightning is also very dangerous, makin