Wind farms produced a record 15% of Britain’s electricity last year, equating to more than twice the output from coal.
There is no question that wind-generated electricity, which is non-polluting and renewable, is steadily gaining ground. Renvico is one of the major European players within this market, and has recently opted for the latest generation of electronic access control to secure its growing wind farm business.
Renvico’s wind farms are geographically dispersed in remote locations, meaning wind turbines and their substructures are often exposed to the elements, including extreme weather, from freezing and frost conditions to humidity and direct sunlight. It is therefore essential to have a robust access control solution, which is able to cope with climatic conditions and meets the demanding security requirements of an isolated site.
The key challenge that affects security in this industry is that sites are often located a considerable distance from one another, and therefore ensuring that sites are secure while also providing enhanced access control is essential. The rising numbers of subcontractors in this sector increases this risk, making monitoring and controlling access points more prevalent than ever in order to guarantee the quality of the services provided.
In fact, as Olivier Rouchouze, maintenance and operation manager at Renvico France, explains, this activity requires fool-proof security at sites and reliable control of access to wind turbines: "Some companies intervening on our wind farms have a mission, which is limited in time or space. For example, a technical inspector will be granted access to all our equipment, but only for a short period of time, corresponding to a specific assignment, while someone doing maintenance on a wind farm will have access for a longer period, but only to the equipment at the facility in question. The system developed by LOCKEN allows us to give each intervening party personalised access for a fixed period, thanks to a unique key per user for all the equipment in our estate.
“In addition, access to these 100m-tall installations, which host high-voltage equipment, requires an authorisation for work at height and electrical interventions. Allocated in real time from a centralised platform, access rights are only granted by Renvico to people with up-to-date authorisations."
Renvico opted for the latest generation of LOCKEN electronic keys, which combine the features of state-of-the-art electronics with a mechanical component.
"This spells the end for bunches of keys, which are tricky or even uncertain to manage, and which could end up stalling the work of personnel. The same goes for the problem of lost keys, which required us to take costly measures to ensure the highest levels of security", says Rouchouze. "With the LOCKEN solution, once the necessary authorisations have been loaded, a single key per operator allows access to clearly defined equipment, whether wind turbines or substructures, operated by Renvico. The key provides the energy needed to open the cylinders, which therefore do not require any electrical cabling. This feature ensures access to machines even when the power grid is faulty".
The electronic key with a mechanical component, termed mechatronic, chosen by Renvico, also has a Bluetooth module: the opening authorisation is transmitted to the key by the user's smartphone thanks to the MyLocken™ application.
LOCKEN's mechatronic solution combines two key features: the robustness of the key, brought by its mechanical keyprint, as well as its state-of-the-art, contactless transmission, and the flexibility of its use for the security manager, since the authorisations are fully adjustable via the LOCKEN Smart Access software program, which is adapted to the needs of each customer.
Five wind farms, each with 5 to 16 wind turbines, are already equipped. Renvico plans to roll the solution out to a further 13 wind farms in the coming weeks.