Addressing the challenges of access control in power supply networks

access control

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Access control in the electricity industry must address the many security challenges as a result of the infrastructure’s layout and potential inherent risks. Scattered sites, such as electrical substations, electric power plants, wind turbines, solar farms and hydraulic stations are particularly hazardous.

LOCKEN has provided solutions to the largest organisations in this industry since 2003, including the renewable energy sector, with tens of thousands of access points installed.

Isolated, scattered facilities exposed to harsh weather conditions

The electricity industry covers a wide range of facilities, often forming a linear structure over hundreds of miles, or scattered over vast areas, such as wind farms. They are usually located in rural areas with extreme weather conditions.

LOCKEN’s electronic access control solution includes cylinders and keys that have been designed for challenging environments, such as mountainous or seaside areas. Cylinders have the IP 66-67-68-69 rating and high levels of protection against water ingress and foreign bodies. The latest-generation electronic keys use induction technology to enable contactless information to be exchanged between the key and cylinder. This technology allows the electronic key to transmit access rights to the cylinder, even in the case of salt, pollution, dust blockages or a rusty surface caused by humidity.

Security risk exposure

Energy sites represent a significant target for large-scale attacks, with the impact of vandalism having the potential to compromise the country’s core infrastructure. The LOCKEN access control solution plays a major role in mitigating the risk of attacks.

Firstly, the electronic key only opens the cylinder when configured with the necessary access rights. These may be granted in real time with the Bluetooth module present in the latest-generation keys, by communicating with the MyLocken app via an advanced AES128 encryption protocol. Secondly, any openings or attempted break-ins are logged in the electronic key’s memory and sent to the Locken Smart Access (LSA) management software.

Health and safety procedures

At energy sites, access to certain areas is restricted to qualified staff. This is the case at electrical substations where the most sensitive areas are off-limits, except to officers with the necessary authorisation. As for wind turbines, staff must be qualified to work at specific heights to reach the highest parts of the turbine.

LOCKEN’s advanced access control solution helps DNOs to comply with Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR).

The solution works alongside the MyLocken app and new technology (RFID, beacons, etc.) to send technicians control messages about required safety instructions. Similarly, users can interact with the central system and submit on-site attendance reports and flag up anomalies, etc. These bespoke features are designed to meet the ever-stricter safety requirements and to provide maximum protection and reliability to companies within this sector.

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