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How to secure a wind farm

How to secure a wind farm
How to secure a wind farm

As the government looks for new ways to reduce carbon emissions and secure energy reliance from Russia and other countries, wind farms have begun to spring up around the British countryside.

This renewable energy source is perfectly suited to remote rural areas, particularly where flatter land and higher rates of natural wind allow for convenient, effective and eco-friendly energy generation.

However, security threats are growing as fast as the renewables sector, with essential defences needed, such as CCTV surveillance, robust perimeter protection and remote monitoring to ensure that a high-efficiency wind farm does not become a target.

The remote nature of wind farms and most renewable energy schemes means exposure to trespassing, vandalism and theft, causing huge disruption and costs.

 

The Rising Security Threat to Remote Wind Farms

While some wind farm projects are designed with security in mind, they remain vulnerable, and instances of vandalism or material theft can occur even during construction, where valuables such as copper offer an attractive prospect for theft.

Implementing the right security measures can make a marked difference in the success of a project, increasing profitability, by reducing criminal activity that often results in insurance claims, parts replacements and equipment repairs.

Some of the key characteristics of wind farms make them uniquely exposed to unlawful activity, such as:

  • Remote control networks, without 24/7 on-site workers.
  • The geographic scale of a wind farm and the distant locations often selected.
  • Insufficient security protocols, given that many security providers are inexperienced in protecting renewable energy sites.

Theft is perhaps the biggest concern, with copper prices often prompting surges in robberies due to its high value. Assets stripped from wind turbines also include industrial metals and power cabling.

Having a security guard present on a wind farm day and night is unlikely to be practical. Still, there are potential solutions, including always-on CCTV surveillance equipped with facial recognition tracking, body temperature sensors and voice commands.

Clearway’s professional security response team can oversee wind farm alarms and provide monitoring 365 days a year to activate a suitable response depending on the threat detected.

Planning for Effective Wind Farm Security

Some wind farms are especially exposed, including those with nearby roads or motorway access and broad areas of land surrounding the site, which are easily accessible by off-road vehicles.

The best approach is to schedule a full risk assessment of your site, identify where the most critical threats arise, and then evaluate the correct response to mitigate or remove that threat.

For example, perimeter alarms and remote monitoring personnel can deploy security teams or liaise with local law enforcement when a breach occurs, or automatic locking bolts can be physical preventatives – we will run through some of the popular options shortly.

Essentially, wind farm managers or land owners must be aware of the most likely criminal activities, assess their control systems, and select security solutions that will proactively deter thieves or trespassers from entering the site.

Even low-level vandalism can have a knock-on impact as criminals recognise the lack of site security. Acting quickly and decisively is essential to preserve site integrity and prevent risks from increasing.

Security Solutions Suited to Wind Farms

Clearway is a leading UK provider of a vast range of security services, equipment, hire periods and monitoring. We can navigate the risk assessment process and budget with you to suggest options we think are optimal for your wind farm.

Some solutions may be simple – adding powerful security lighting, anti-climb fencing and periodic mobile patrols to address obvious access issues or to ensure your site has a visible security presence.

Others may be more technological and appropriate for wind farms in remote areas where deploying a security response is likely to take a considerable amount of time.

solar power CCTV tower

Wind Farm Surveillance

CCTV security is one of the best ways to protect a remote wind farm from numerous threats, with options such as commercial-grade battery systems or solar-powered mast-mounted CCTV cameras that can monitor large areas simultaneously.

Remote commercial CCTV is tamper-proof and reliable, without any exposure to downtime or power outages if the mains grid connection is less than dependable.

Clearway can also recommend advanced CCTV solutions to address specific threats and activate audible alarms if trespassing, fly-tipping or other unauthorised entry is detected.

Perimeter Protection

Wind farms are hard to defend simply because of the scale of each site, the range of land covered, and the general infrastructure of a renewable energy scheme – but by securing the boundary around a wind farm, you can prevent most illegal entry attempts.

Many wind farm owners do not need to erect fencing around their entire site. They install security fences, often accompanied by low-grade electric shock deterrents, security cameras or wireless alarms in key spots not protected by natural perimeters.

Concrete barriers are another excellent solution and can be positioned at access points and potential vehicular entry routes, such as private access pathways or borders.

Blocks cannot be shifted, removed or otherwise tampered with without specialist commercial lifting equipment and are an effective deterrent for any vehicle, required for instances such as fly-tipping or material theft.

Access Control Systems

If your wind farm has one main entry route, you may benefit from equipping this with commercial-grade access control systems, particularly if the gates or access method is not monitored.

There are various options. You can program access control systems to lift bollards, barriers or lifting electric gates with a passcode, recognise approved vehicle number plates, or alert the alarm receiving centre if an intruder attempts to bypass your controls.

Access control is AI-enabled and works autonomously, with the ability to update approved visitors or site staff remotely from your central control dashboard.

Professional Wind Farm Security Solutions

If you would like further information about the potential security options discussed here or to arrange a wind farm risk assessment to help you upgrade your defences, please contact Clearway.

Our skilled renewable energy security experts can make independent recommendations and help you select the ideal security provisions to keep your wind farm in excellent condition, protected from an array of possible criminal activities and security threats.

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